Why taking part in strength and balance exercise is so important for all of us!
Last year the Chief Medical Officer released the new physical activity guidelines. For the first time participation in strength and balance exercise was considered to be as important as cardiovascular activity. But why is this?
From our thirties, we start to lose bone and muscle mass which continues into later life. Our balance also declines as we age. This can result in an increased risk of falls, loss of confidence, reduced mobility, and decreased independence. Falls aren’t an inevitable part of aging and we can do something about it now. Participation in strength and balance is important across the life course but recent evidence shows if you aren’t already doing this type of exercise starting in your 40’s will make a huge difference to your ability to complete everyday activities in later life. Though don’t forget it is never too late to start at any age and you will benefit from doing so.
Physical and social distancing measures put in place in response to the Covid-19 pandemic have led to a large proportion of the population spending significantly more time at home and, as a result, becoming more physically inactive. There is growing concern that this will lead to deconditioning which can affect our overall wellbeing and functional ability. A recent poll on the impact of Covid-19 on 50 – 70-year-olds conducted by Ipsos MORI commissioned by the Centre for Ageing Better registered a fifth of those polled have seen their physical health deteriorate during the lockdown.
So the important question – what activities are best to help improve muscle function, bone health, and balance, and what you can do to improve your health?
Evidence shows activities such as resistance training, aerobics, circuit training, ball games, racket sports, and dance are the most effective. Other activities provide benefits that are important to improve your health and mental wellbeing so it is best to take part in a mix of activities that helps you to meet all of the Chief Medical Officers’ recommendations.
IHL has put a video together of simple exercises that you can do in your own home that focuses particularly on balance. If you would like more information on how we can help you.