How you can stay injury-free as you age

There’s a common misconception that, as you age, you slow down. But that’s only partially true.

Staying active as you age is the key to ensuring that you don’t “slow down”. It’s much like Newton’s First Law of Motion: a body in motion stays in motion.

Staying active as you age can help promote a healthier life, allowing you to continue doing the things you love, and avoid injuries.

Here are our top tips to help you stay active as you age.

Why is physical activity so important as you age?

Our bodies are made to move, and engaging in regular physical activity offers many fantastic benefits beyond simply staying fit.

Continued activity has been proven to:

  • Boost mental wellbeing.
  • Fostering important social connections.
  • Help reduce the risk of a range of conditions, like dementia, diabetes, depression, anxiety, and even fatigue.
  • Help decrease muscle loss while strengthening muscles and bones.
  • Improve heart health by 23%.
  • Reduce your threat of coronary artery disease by 50%.
  • Enhance your overall quality of life.

Those are some pretty big benefits—and all it takes is keeping up a regular exercise routine.

Mastering a low-impact workout routine

As you age, it’s important to approach activity with a pragmatic mindset. While you may not be able to push yourself as hard as in your younger years, every little bit of physical activity is still doing you good, which means there are plenty of opportunities to engage in movement that supports your wellbeing.

A focus on low-impact exercises is the key to keeping up a healthy lifestyle. And the good news is that there are many ways that you can get out there and get moving, while doing exercises that are easier on your body and gentle on your joints.

These exercises can provide a range of health benefits, while still remaining achievable—and even fun:

  • Brisk walking
  • Swimming
  • Water aerobics
  • Dancing
  • Golf

All of these are excellent low-impact, joint-friendly exercises. The easiest is walking; all you need is a good pair of shoes, then simply step outside and walk for 30 minutes a day.

If you’re already undertaking a regular exercise program, that’s fantastic. If not, be sure to speak with your GP first. They can provide advice and guidance on what’s best for you, based on your age and fitness levels, or put you in touch with a sports medicine specialist to ensure you get a program that’s tailored to your needs.

Ensure proper warm-ups and cool-downs

When you do perform an exercise routine, it’s important that you don’t rush right into it. Warming up first is crucial to get your muscles ready to work.

One of the best ways to warm up is by doing dynamic stretches. These are different to the traditional static stretches you may see people doing, which involve holding a position for a period of time. Instead, dynamic stretches see you moving parts of your body through a range of motion, to gradually increase flexibility, mobility, and promote blood flow to your muscles.

It’s almost like yoga, as they’re more fluid and involve continuous movement. And if you’re just starting out on your exercise routine, dynamic stretching is a great way to get moving in the first place.

But stretching isn’t just reserved for before exercise. A program of slow, easy dynamic stretching once you’ve finished your exercise can help to reduce muscle soreness after your routine is over. It promotes blood flow to the muscles, which can aid in the removal of lactic acid and other metabolic waste products that build up during exercise, which also helps to improve blood and oxygen circulation to your muscles, speeding up the recovery process.

Whenever you do them, slow, measured stretching helps to improve your muscle flexibility, joint mobility, and overall performance, while reducing your risk of injury—and helps make it easier to continue remaining active.

Eat healthfully

More and more, we’re becoming aware of the connection between food, mind, and body. After all, the food that you put into your body fuels it, which is crucial if you’re maintaining an exercise routine.

Eating healthfully is something that we all know we should do. And it doesn’t have to be hard. Maintaining a healthy diet of fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, and minimally processed protein sources can provide a range of different health benefits, such as:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight, which helps to improve movement and energy levels.
  • Reducing the risk of chronic diseases, like heart disease and diabetes.
  • Improving bowel health, thanks to the fibre from fruit and vegetable sources.
  • Helping you to feel better, sharpen your mind, and give you the energy to go about your day.

If you want advice on how to eat healthfully as you age, be sure to speak with your GP. They can refer you to a dietician or sports nutrition specialist who can help you create a tailored diet plan that ensures you get the nutrients that you need for your level of activity.

Most importantly, listen to your body

As humans, this can often be a tricky one to do—at any age. We may simply try and ignore pains, or push ourselves too hard, thinking we’ll be okay. But as we age, it’s more important than ever to listen to what your body is telling you.

So make sure to tune into your body’s cues. Listen to what it’s telling you, and respond with care and compassion. Being kind to yourself, and doing what your body needs, ensures that you’re giving it the best chance of feeling its—and your—best.

You can stay active and injury-free as you age

Staying active and eating well are two key pillars in helping to promote health and energy throughout your life, and help you stay injury-free.

So if you’re looking for support to maintain your movement and mobility, contact Brecken Health Bunbury to book an appointment with one of our experienced GPs. They can discuss your options to boost your activity, maintain your fitness, and provide you with tips and support to stay fit, healthy, and active.