Sahar Mourad


Why you should be exercising more often

Why you should be exercising more often

As we age, our bodies begin to slow down and tasks that were quite easy to accomplish require a bit more effort to complete. 

The same goes with exercising, particularly for those aged 60 onwards who should be committed to a healthy lifestyle which helps strengthen the cardiovascular and respiratory system, as well as improved immune function.

Anytime Fitness Wolli Creek Personal Trainer Sandro Fanunza spoke to OverSixty about the health benefits of exercising and shared some of the best movements for older people without risking injury. 

O60: What are the health benefits of exercising as someone who is aged 60+?

Being aged over 60 poses many health precautions on a daily basis. 

The little things you did when you were younger such as going to work in the cold weather or simply staying on your feet for long enough can now feel increasingly challenging.

Inactivity increases with age and by 75 - one in three elderly people don’t engage in physical activity. This could be due to tendon and ligament loss of elasticity, reduced range of motion, a decrease of oxygen efficiency and longer recovery times to ailments.

The benefits however truly outweigh the negatives. By implementing simple and consistent exercise habits daily will help increase physical and mental strength to not only continue living independently but attribute to reducing risk of falling causing injuries, helps to maintain healthy bone and muscular structure, controls joint swelling and pain, rapidly reduces blood pressure, improves oxygen flow and also reduces symptoms of developed possible depression and anxiety which directly linked to a healthy well-being. 

O60: What movements are important for older people without injuring themselves? 

Basic movement and mobility will always be functionally advantageous when increasing physical activity. 

I believe there should be a large selection and hybridisation of exercise styles to be implemented with caution by elderly people. 

Walking not only improves oxygen efficiency and independent movement but adds towards rebuilding a healthy, non-invasive daily activity. Other advantages include lowering risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Using a walker also poses as great support for elderly people during these initial walks as well. 

Another form of movement includes basic strength training using resistance bands, which are large basic elastic bands which can reduce direct stress towards the body when used. Not only are they cost efficient but they are beginner friendly. 

Various activities with resistance bands can help improve movement, posture, mobility and joint strength immensely. Pilates posing as a low impact exercise improves breathing, mobility, flexibility and joint strength as well but could pose a financial strain long term. 

O60: What are some easy exercise movements to do at home

Sit to stands: Sitting on a chair and standing directly up controlling each motion is simple yet effective. Core control and stability is challenged and improves while the lower body is strengthened. 

Ankle/wrist rotations: Sitting on a chair with good posture and slightly elevating one foot at a time and rotating each ankle clockwise for 30 seconds each. Follow the same order and repeat with your hands. This improves flexibility and mobility of the hands and feet which when repeated will strengthen joints when performing daily tasks like walking, cooking and cleaning. 

Hip hinge movements: While standing on the side of a chair, simply hold onto the chair with one hand and raise the opposing leg forward knee first to a 90 degree angle and hold for 2 seconds. Inhale on the way up and exhale when returning the leg down. Repeat with the opposite leg and alternate for 5-10 minutes. This exercise challenges and improves stability of the knees, ankles and hip joint, increases mobility of the hip and allows for an improved healthy range of motion. Elderly people have an increased chance of sustaining a hip injury so improving and strengthening their hip joints only poses an advantage.

O60: What are some exercises to avoid due to high injury risk in the elderly?

Any high impact or plyometric style movements such as jumping, sudden sprinting will not only pose as a physical risk to the joints and muscles but challenge the heart rate to a dangerous level if not conditioned. Heavy weight lifting is always not advised unless taken under supervision long term by a trainer or practitioner. 

O60: How can Anytime Fitness help motivate/encourage older people to join and have fun at the gym? 

At Anytime Fitness Wolli Creek we have a young, motivating team of staff and trainers who are always on the gym floor helping members and supporting them in any way they can. 

Trainers are always around to teach, demonstrate and watch elderly members as a safety precaution and also as a source of motivation for the - in my opinion - strongest members of a gym! 

O60: Is it recommended to get a personal trainer as someone 60+?

I believe seeking a personal trainer over 60 is a great idea! Personal trainers are qualified to safely instruct and motivate members of the gym. The elderly demographic will enjoy a boost of confidence from a younger trainer and will also seek to improve their fear of movement/ exercises which then will increase self belief - leading to a much more fulfilling and confident exercise session within a gym. 

O60: What is currently on offer for the elderly? 

At the moment I have a walking/running event around Wolli Creek called Wolli Move which is in its beginning stages. 

Wolli Move is a community event held a few times a week which seeks to improve motivation for the general community to run or walk. 

There are seperate free sessions per week where members of the local community can walk on a set path or run on another time slot. 

What a great opportunity to connect with like-minded people and rebuild healthy habits with your body to ensure a great balanced lifestyle!

Contact Sandro for more information on his Wolli Move page. 

Image: Supplied/Shutterstock

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