6 ways to stay fit and healthy after 50

Getting fit is not just a young person’s game – in fact, it’s vital to keep both the mind and body feeling fresh and sharp.

Exercise can add years to adults’ lives – and life to their years, says registered fitness expert Paula Todd.

The Fitness Network trainer says staying active, no matter how many birthdays you’ve had, brings many benefits.

And it doesn’t have to be anything strenuous like running marathons or lifting heavy weights – regular walks around the block and gardening can do the trick.

It’s recommended older adults get 30 minutes of exercise a day, and it can even be broken up into three-minute chunks to reap the benefits.

Increase energy and strength

While older adults tend to be less active, exercise is more vital for them than any other age group, says a American College of Sports Medicine study.

It recommends older adults do a mix of strength, stretching and aerobic exercises.

By doing all three, they should get more strength and energy to tackle their everyday lives as well as improving the quality of their lives.

Improve joints, flexibility and bones

The same study says benefits of exercise can be felt from top to toe.

Those who keep active can improve their joint health, improve flexibility and keep their bones healthy.

These factors can also help to prevent falls.

Minimise chronic conditions

The researchers also say physical activity for older adults can slow or even prevent the onset of chronic conditions that often go on to claim lives.

They have found regular physical exercise can substantially modify the risk of conditions such as type 2 diabetes, stroke, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, obesity, certain cancers and degenerative musculoskeletal conditions such as osteoporosis, arthritis and sarcopenia.

Improve mental wellbeing

The benefits of exercise for those aged over 50 are not just physical.

The American College of Sports Medicine also says being active can keep certain mental health conditions at bay.

The effects of anxiety disorders and depression can be minimised if older adults keep active – and exercising with a friend can deliver even more benefits.

Help with cognitive function

Researchers believe exercise can slow language decline.

A recent University of Birmingham study shows adults who exercise are more able to produce words “on the tip of their tongue”.

Maintain healthy weight

Physical exercise can also help keep the waistline in the healthy range.

Combined with a healthy eating plan, give yourself the best shot at a long life by having a balanced diet and staying active.

Written by Sally Heppleston