Helping older (and younger!) people become as fit as a fiddle!

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When someone has an ongoing health condition, there’s often a danger it can take over, reducing their independence and stopping them doing even simple, everyday things. But it doesn’t always have to be that way. For many people, taking part in regular physical activity can help them continue to do the things that are important to them for as long as they want.

As we age, we become more susceptible to major health challenges due to inactivity, such as:

  • Heart disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Loss of muscle strength
  • Reduction in bone density – leading to fractures
  • Osteoporosis
  • Loss of mobility
  • Memory problems and dementia
  • Increased risk of injury due to falling.

“Since exercising I feel fitter, am not as breathless, I have more energy and my joints feel easier”

Regular physical activity can help prevent or slow down these conditions. To help get us started, the council has teamed up with Sport England to provide ‘Leeds Let’s Get Active’ – a programme of free gym and swim sessions at all Leeds City Council leisure centres as well as beginner running, family sports activities and health walks in parks across Leeds. To find out more, visit the Leeds Let’s Get Active website.

“I do circuit training, fitball, yoga and TRX class. It gives me confidence meeting people and also we have fun”

In 2011, physical activity recommendations for older people were published for the first time. These guidelines are suitable for all fitness levels but some activities may need to be adapted with advice from medical professionals, for example following a hip or knee replacement. For guidance, see the Leeds physical activity guide for adults over 60 and find out what local people had to say about keeping fit. There’s something for everyone; with a range of activities which cost little or no money at all.

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Although I’m not 60 just yet, I think it’s really important for people of all ages to fit in a little regular exercise into their day. Fit in body, fit in mind as they say! I’ll be the first to admit it’s not as easy as it sounds, especially after a long day at the office. That’s why I recently decided to park up my car and instead opt for commuting to and from work on public transport. It might not be as intense as going to the gym or a Zumba class but, I’ve found even that brisk walk to catch a bus or train, has helped me to get fit again, and ultimately feel better about myself. There’s something out there for everyone, you just need to find what works for you.

“The first time I went to a gym I felt very self-conscious. After going a few times, I realised no one was looking at me”

This week, I’ll also be speaking to Allyson Bertram, Older Peoples’ Sport Officer at Leeds City Council to find out more about the activities on offer in the city, and also what else we can all do, no matter what our age or medical condition, to help keep us ‘as fit as a fiddle’.

Gurpreet Sarai

About betterlivesleeds

Health, social and age-related care services working together to make Leeds the best city for health and wellbeing
This entry was posted in Active ageing, Health and Wellbeing, Independence, Information, older people, Social Isolation, Transforming care services, Working together and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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