Making an effort to stay mobile and active beyond your fifties is one of the best health investments you can make. Ageing is natural and happens to us all but also brings health problems including osteoporosis (women are more at risk than men, particularly if the menopause begins early), high blood pressure, chronic disease and memory loss. The good news is that activity reduces the risk of many preventable diseases and conditions including obesity and depression. “Being active increases your chances of staying independent in later life” states Public Health England.
What does being active mean?
A sedentary lifestyle can leave you feeling lethargic and more flabulous than fabulous but being active doesn’t necessarily mean high impact or intense. The physical benefits of even gentle, low impact exercise are abundant, including improved cardiovascular health, stronger joints and pelvic floor, improved bone density, healthy weight, better posture and more flexibility for everyday tasks. Mental health gains include reduced anxiety, stress and improved sleep. Being active benefits both men and women, boosting confidence and helping achieve body positivity.
It’s never too late to start
Whatever your age, it’s not too late to start your fitness journey gently and build up safely. Think about your goals and what you’d like to achieve. These goals, or affirmations, will help you stay motivated and allow you to track progress, for example:
I will be independent, able and confident in later life
I will maintain a healthy weight and have more energy
It’s natural to feel cautious or dubious about starting a fitness regime after turning fifty, but there are many ways at The Thames Club to improve strength and stamina in a way that suits you. Here are some of the best ways to get started:
- Resistance Training
Weight training targets specific areas to build your defences against injuries and relieve tight muscles. Even using light weights (including resistance bands and your own weight) can improve strength, range of motion, flexibility and maintain bone density. Regular weight training reduces body fat percentage and increases lean muscle mass; this is what is often referred to as ‘toning up’. Discover more in our blog that debunks weight training myths.
- Group exercise
Classes are a brilliant way to share the ‘buzz’ of a workout with others, guided by an instructor. From Aqua to Box Fit, and dancing to spinning, classes at The Thames Club are inclusive for all ages. As well as the physical benefits, you’ll keep your mind sharp, improve self-esteem, co-ordination and memory. Leanne teaches Body Conditioning and explains that it’s the perfect class for anyone, and most popular with the older generation and beginners. “You’ll focus on building strength with a low intensity, making day to day life easier. You’ll not only improve your strength but your flexibility, mobility, cardio and core too.”
- Personal training
To benefit from a tailored 1:1 workout, book personal training with our friendly PTs. They’ll encourage you with exercises that suit your goals, from strengthening your pelvic floor to boosting heart and lung function, challenging you to explore your capability. The gym team can also analyse your body stats (including muscle mass, body fat percentage, metabolic age and more) using the Tanita machine to assess where you could make targeted healthy improvements.
Pilates and yoga classes are often mistaken as simply stretching, relaxing or only attended by women. Both low impact, Pilates and yoga should feature in everyone’s fitness and wellbeing schedule. Pilates will help improve posture, core strength and stability (helping prevent injuries), improve balance (helping prevent falls), heighten body awareness and co-ordination. The ancient practice of yoga harmonises body and mind, helping improve sleep, flexibility, energy levels and mobility.
- Hot yoga
The added element of heat in the Hot Yoga Club studio provides a cardio challenge as well as a deep stretch. Hot yoga helps counteract the strain from everyday activities, whilst strengthening muscles, mobilising joints and opening up chakras (energy points in the body). If a hot room seems unappealing, yoga also teaches mindfulness, how to ‘use’ your breath and can in fact alleviate some menopause symptoms. Men and women who regularly attend these classes report feeling amazing and restored!
At The Thames Club, we’d love to help you become fitter than ever in your fifties and beyond. As Mark Twain said, growing old is ‘a privilege denied to many’, so be the best version of yourself by maintaining an active and rewarding lifestyle.
We advise you to check with a doctor before embarking on a new fitness regime, especially if you have existing health conditions.