There is overwhelming evidence that participating in regular exercise is one of the best measures you can take to ensure that you maintain your health as you go through life. It also keeps you strong as you get older, so that people can remain independent and active as they mature and ripen, knowing that their body is fit and strong. Regular exercise really is the ‘Miracle Pill’ that can significantly reduce the incidence of Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease, Falls, Depression and Dementia, Breast and colon cancer; and even if regular exercise didn’t cure you of all these regular exercise will help you to sleep better, get out and about, keep you strong and steady on your feet and generally feeling a whole lot better says HSE Physiotherapist Liz O’Sullivan.
Just like any pill though you have to take the right dose! The WHO and the Get Ireland Active www.getirelandactive.ie guidelines both advise that adults should engage in cardiovascular exercise for 30 minutes most days of the week, so ‘most days’ usually means five, but as I advise my patients “Any day you wake up and you are breathing, you should exercise, only if you are not breathing, you get the day off !
An active lifestyle with moderate amounts of aerobic activity and similar amounts of resistance training should be encouraged not only for physical health but also because of the almost certain benefits for brain health. Check out www.hellobrain.ie, which explains why regular exercise is beneficial to keeping your brain in good health. Exercise also creates a ‘feel good’ feeling and overall general wellness.
HSE Physios are very keen to promote the value of regular exercise for everybody. Many people unfortunately reduce their exercise levels as they get older, usually based on a fear that they are ‘too old to exercise’. This is just not true, you are never to old to exercise, and certainly never too old to reap the benefits of including exercise in your daily routine. Whatever your fitness, it is time to speed up so as to slow down the ageing process. It can be a bit daunting to get going but once you have embraced and felt the benefits you will be wondering why you didn’t start sooner! You could start out with a daily walk; wrap up, put on good shoes and start walking, going a bit more each day as your body gets used to doing what it does best – moving!
HSE Physios know very well that many people enjoy exercising in a group, rather than home alone. Cork Sports Partnership, the HSE Health Promotion and Improvement Department and the HSE Physios have worked together to develop a class called ‘Staying Fit For The Future with Better Balance Better Bones’, which is designed specifically to improve participants muscle and bone strength and also their balance. In September last year six programmes were launched in Cork with over 80 people attending the sessions over the eight weeks. It was a huge success and we are continuing these programmes for 2018.
This programme is for adults who walk unaided and want to remain strong and steady on their feet as they get older. The enjoyable sessions will include a warm up and exercises which are targeted at improving participants balance ability and reactions and their muscle and bone strength. Staying Fit For the Future Classes are scheduled to take place at venues across Cork city and county from January 2018 in: Skibbereen on Tuesday afternoons in the Sports Centre from 3 til 4pm, and in Durrus on Tuesdays from 11am til 12pm.
Everyone of every age can benefit from being active. If you have a chronic condition such as diabetes, heart disease or osteoarthritis or if you have symptoms such as chest pain or pressure, dizziness or joint pain, talk to your GP before you increase your activity levels however most health conditions are helped by being physically active so start today, whatever your age, 38 or 83, for your healthy future!