Sheri Colberg: Key exercises to help you age well

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Adapted from Diabetes In Control Jun5 2021

Exercises can help maintain your physical abilities and independence during the aging process.

Aging successfully needs a lot of work. If you don’t use it, you lose it! Our body system peaks at 25 and declines thereafter. Even if you exercise diligently you will lose aerobic capacity as you age.

Balance also worsens from the age of 40. Bones also thin, particularly for women post menopausally. Muscles get smaller and weaker, reflexes get slower and recovery from workouts takes longer.

Although you can’t do that much about neurological decline but by regular physical training, nutrition, enough sleep, and stress management you can delay or prevent a lot of normal aging and even sometimes reverse damage done from inactivity.

These are my top tips for exercises to reduce aging:

Cardio workouts with faster training intervals. Apart from walking, cycling and swimming add in faster intervals lasting 10 to 60 seconds at a time. You can walk up hills deliberately or do a hill programme on a cardio machine. High intensity interval training can be done up to once a week but start low and build up.

Resistance exercises covering your upper body, core and lower body will help your muscles. Do 8 to 10 exercises covering these groups two to three days a week. You can use your body weight, dumbells, kettlebells, resistance bands. You should be able to get in and out of a chair without using your arms at the very least.

Standing on one leg at a time helps balance. My comment: one of my friends says doing this helped her not feel dizzy when riding on the London Underground.

Stretches for all of your joints helps your joint mobility and cartilage health. Do this two or three days a week. Diabetics are particularly prone to stiffness from glycation. Hold the stretch for up to a minute for each one.

Hopping up and down on one leg helps bone mineral density and so does carrying shopping in both hands. Press ups, against a door or kitchen counter are a good start.

Pelvic floor exercises are good for the prevention of stress incontinence.

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