A week ago, when meeting a friend, I had a brief conversation with her mum, a lovely lady in her late 60s. She was interested in what’s happening at MeanFitFoxes but quickly added that exercise is not for her. I hear this over and over again. And I still find this so sad. Because so many of us, girls, women, are missing the point. We are happy to starve ourselves and try all sorts of detoxes and pills that will keep us super healthy, so why do we also need to exercise and get sweaty?
To put it simply, to move we need bones and muscles.
For the muscles to be present we need to keep muscle mass.
In our 30s we start losing muscle mass at a rate of up to 3-5% a year.
In our 60s this process accelerates and that’s how we end up FRAIL – there’s not enough muscle to move us around plus in the first years after the menopause, we ladies start losing bone mass too!
What helps bone regenerate? Muscle. When we move, muscle pulls on the bones, providing better supply of blood and helping regeneration.
More resistance, tension in the muscle – more regeneration – bone and muscle loss processes slow down.
Resistance comes from exercises with resistance equipment and weights.
Even the Department of Health report – Stay Active says it in black and white for over 65s:
- Older adults should also undertake physical activity to improve muscle strength on at least two days a week.
- Older adults at risk of falls should incorporate physical activity to improve balance and co-ordination on at least two days a week.
- All older adults should minimise the amount of time spent being sedentary (sitting) for extended periods.
So why is it that most women genuinely believe that getting used to exercising is something fancy, unnecessary and definitely not for over 40s? Fashion comes and goes. This is not about models, FitFam and beach body. This is basic physical physical function. How can you expect your body to serve you well, if you do not look after it?
I believe in the last few years, thanks to the whole health and fitness trend, this is changing. Younger generations look at fitness differently, it’s cool and trendy. But what about us? Over 30s, over 40s, over 50s and so on? We’ve a life to live too, we’ve kids to give example to.
Here’s an article on resistance and strength training for older people with arthritis, specifically osteoarthritis. It’s a medical study, no pictures, but the point is that strength training helps alleviate the pain because muscle gets stronger, more functional, takes some pressure off the joints, also stronger body fights inflammation better. If you have family members with this condition too, maybe will help them to consider starting an exercise programme (obvs approved by their doctor). My mother-in-law just had a letter from her doctor that she’s having complications specifically because of lack of exercise.
Let’s learn from others, drop “the not for me” thing and make exercise our normal daily habit, like having lunch. How about we come up with a new word for exercise? 😉