You blew out the candles on your 60th birthday cake — just recently, or maybe too long ago to want to mention — but we’re betting you’re determined to look younger than your parents did at that age. Afterall, they were Ancient, but today 60 is the new 50, and 70 the new 60.
You probably know you should exercise more, but you’ve let that sort of activity slide, and during COVID — although you were determined to put the time to good use — it was harder to get motivated.
Well, you know what the Walrus said: ‘The time has come to speak of many things…’ But you may not be as familiar with response from the Oysters who did not want to leave their beds: ‘But wait a bit,’ the Oysters cried, / Before we have our chat; / For some of us are out of breath, / And all of us are fat! /’
The time has indeed come to stop the slide into ‘being out of breath’ or, heaven forbid, ‘too fat’. Did you know the secret to living long and living healthy lies in your muscles? And that with physical activity you lessen the risk of falls (have you noticed that at a certain age, one does not ‘fall over’, one has ‘falls’). Physical activity also means you are more likely to stave off becoming frail and can continue to live independently in your own home. Who doesn’t want that?
Exercise and activity are not just for your muscles, they’re equally important for your bones to boost bone density and strength. And remember, what’s good for your body and heart is also good for your brain.
Muscles are not only about looking strapping at the gym or cutting a still passable figure at the beach. Muscles help maintain every one of your body’s organs. It’s muscles that help the blood course through your veins. It’s muscles that help the body process the food you’ve eaten, and for oxygen to move through your body. It’s muscles that help you avoid Type 2 Diabetes and to make sure your brain is still adequately fuelled and keeps firing. Muscles also help you fight illness and infection, and are essential for repair work after surgery or even to heal everyday bumps and bruises.
So, what are the 3 keys to healthy ageing?
- Put protein at the centre of every meal, and even between meals, because protein helps build muscle strength.
- Become and stay active!
- And the secret to staying active is doing something you enjoy.
Find an activity you like: do it at home, do it with a friend, or do it with a group to keep you motivated. NSW Health has a wonderful free, online Healthy and Active for Life program on the Central Coast to help get you moving.
The first online program starts on Monday, 12 October. Each program runs for 10 weeks, with self-paced interactive healthy eating and lifestyle modules supported by exercise videos to do in your home each week. Participants will also receive weekly phone support from a trained coach at times that suit you.
To register, or for more information, visit www.activeandhealthy.nsw.gov.au or contact the Central Coast Health Promotion Service on 4320 9700.
Go on, you’ve got everything to gain, and no time to lose.