The Importance of Exercise as We Age

Exercise and activity is not only for the young at heart, more importantly it’s the older individuals of society that must make the valiant effort at staying active.
According to a recent study available at the National Center for Health Statistics and The World Health Network, only 30% of our population aged 45-64 get regular exercise. Beyond that, nationwide studies conducted by nurses and doctors conclude that 25% of the older adult population suffer from malnourishment while many others aren’t consuming the proper amounts of good foods they require to maintain their health.
As we age it becomes more and more important that we continue to strive towards maintaining an active lifestyle. As we grow older, our bodies require more attention and focus, especially the heart. According to The National Arthritis Data Workgroup of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, approximately one in every seven –nearly 40 million–suffer from some form of arthritis. This number is expected to climb as baby boomers continue to age. By the year 2020, it’s expected that roughly 60 million of us may suffer from arthritis. It’s important that older individuals understand the importance of exercise and how to do it properly.
When we become older and retire it’s easy to think negative. We can very easily start to assume that our life is over and we have nothing to look forward to accept aging then death. Many older adults succumb to feelings of depression brought on by the thought of their life as no longer being useful. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, many of our older adults are considered likely to commit suicide. 20% of all  suicide deaths in 1997 were by individuals aged 65 and older.

Exercise and activity is not only for the young at heart, more importantly it’s the older individuals of society that must make the valiant effort at staying active. Life is a gift and should be viewed as such no matter what age you are. Taking care of your body throughout your life and into your older years can prevent you from living your golden years in pain or fighting illness to survive. Your golden years should be viewed as a time of relaxation, peace and solitude while you watch your younger family grow and prosper. No one wants to spend their retired years immobilized in a hospital bed or under 24 hour medical care and supervision.
It can be hard to think 25 or even 30 years into the future and where we may see ourselves. We were put on this earth not possessing the ability to look into the future. The future is not set, it’s the conscious decisions we make today that create our future – we end up in a future we create for ourselves and everything centers around choices we make today.    Website-Pictures-2-0031
All older adults are affected by the need for long-term care. More than 40 million people have some form of limitations in their activities of daily living due to various chronic conditions. It is believed that around 9 million of us  of all different ages are significantly confined due to disabilities or illnesses and require assistance or long-term healthcare service.
Making the decision to incorporate regular activity into your regime can aid in maintaining good health and a sharp mind. Older people must be aware that regular exercise not only strengthens the heart but also prevents future bone loss which can lead to fractures. The health benefits of exercise stem far beyond increased muscle strength and improved coordination into areas such as disease prevention.
Many older people may not have someone to care for them consistently so being able to live life independently should be a main focus on everyone’s minds in regard to their future. Being able to carry grocery bags and get out of bed without pain at 65 could be a gift unlike any other. It’s up to your choices now that can lead you into a future destined for either pain or pleasure – which do you choose?

Exercising Tips For Older Individuals
  • Focus on maintaining good posture, form , and alignment during exercise.
  • Start each exercise session by warming up for approximately 10-15 minutes on a bike or treadmill.
  • If new to working out, perform exercises that aren’t difficult to execute; focus on strength , balance, coordination, and flexibility.
  • Focus on your breathing; as we grow our lung capacity decreases so stretching the upper body after warm up is good because it will help to open up the chest muscles. Towards our elder years chest muscles shorten which can lead to various medical conditions.
  • Exercise no longer than 30-60 minutes per session; any longer and you may run the risk of enduring future orthopedic injuries.
  • Aim to exercise 3-4 days a week.         sr_fitness
  • Drink lots of water.
  • Make sure movements performed are safe; if unsure consult with a qualified exercise specialist
  • Do not ignore discomfort or pain; if you feel pain or discomfort stop exercising and consult with a professional immediately.
  • Wear suitable exercise clothing

Strength Training for Older Adults

Why strength training?


Research  has shown that strengthening exercises are both safe and effective for women and men of all ages, including those who are not in perfect health.  In fact, people with health concerns—including heart disease or  arthritis—often benefit the most from an exercise program that includes lifting weights a few times each week.
Strength training, particularly in conjunction with regular aerobic exercise, can also have a profound impact on a person’s mental and        emotional health.

Benefits of Strength Training

There are numerous benefits to strength training regularly, particularly  as you grow older. It can be very powerful in reducing the signs and  symptoms of numerous diseases and chronic conditions, among them:

  • arthritis                                                      
  • diabetes
  • osteoporosis
  • obesity
  • back pain
  • depression

Arthritis Relief

University studies have  recently completed a strength-training program  with older men and women with moderate to severe knee osteoarthritis. The results of this sixteen-week program showed that strength training decreased pain by 43%, increased muscle strength and general physical performance, improved the clinical signs and symptoms of the disease, and decreased disability. The effectiveness of strength training to ease the  pain of osteoarthritis was just as potent, if not more potent, as medications. Similar effects of strength training have been seen in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

Restoration of Balance and Reduction of Falls    imagesCAW12IG4

As people age, poor balance and flexibility contribute to falls and broken bones. These fractures can result in significant disability and, in  some cases, fatal complications. Strengthening exercises, when done properly and through the full range of motion, increase a person’s  flexibility and balance, which decrease the likelihood and severity of  falls. One study in New Zealand in women 80 years of age and older showed a  40% reduction in falls with simple strength and balance training.

Strengthening of Bone

Post-menopausal women can lose 1-2% of their bone mass annually. Results  from University studies, which were published in  the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1994, showed that  strength training increases bone density and reduces the risk for fractures  among women aged 50-70.


Proper Weight Maintenance

Strength training is crucial to weight control, because individuals who  have more muscle mass have a higher metabolic rate. Muscle is active tissue  that consumes calories while stored fat uses very little energy. Strength  training can provide up to a 15% increase in metabolic rate, which is enormously helpful for weight loss and long-term weight control.      imagesCAZTF35U

Improved Glucose Control

Million  of Britons have type II diabetes—a staggering  three-hundred percent increase over the past forty years—and the numbers  are steadily climbing. In addition to being at greater risk for heart and  renal disease, diabetes is also the leading cause of blindness in older  adults. Fortunately, studies now show that lifestyle changes such as   strength training have a profound impact on helping older adults manage  their diabetes. In a recent study of  men and women, 16 weeks of strength training produced dramatic  improvements in glucose control that are comparable to taking diabetes  medication. Additionally, the study volunteers were stronger, gained  muscle, lost body fat, had less depression, and felt much more  self-confident.

Healthy State of Mind

older-women-exercisingStrength training provides similar improvements in depression as        anti-depressant medications. Currently, it is not known if this is because  people feel better when they are stronger or if strength training produces  a helpful biochemical change in the brain. It is most likely a combination  of the two. When older adults participate in strength training programs,    their self-confidence and self-esteem improve, which has a strong impact on  their overall quality of life.

Sleep Improvement

People who exercise regularly enjoy improved sleep quality. They fall  asleep more quickly, sleep more deeply, awaken less often, and sleep longer. As with depression, the sleep benefits obtained as a result of  strength training are comparable to treatment with medication but without the side effects or the expense.

Healthy Heart Tissue

Strength training is important for cardiac health because heart disease  risk is lower when the body is leaner. One study  found that cardiac patients gained not only strength and flexibility but also aerobic capacity when they did strength training three times a week as part of their rehabilitation program. This and other  studies have prompted the American Heart Association to recommend strength  training as a way to reduce risk of heart disease and as a therapy for patients in cardiac rehabilitation programs.

Research and Background About Strength Training      imagesCAOFB74R

Scientific research has shown that exercise can slow the physiological  aging clock. While aerobic exercise, such as walking, jogging, or swimming,  has many excellent health benefits—it maintains the heart and lungs and  increases cardiovascular fitness and endurance—it does not make your  muscles strong. Strength training does. Studies  have shown that lifting weights two or three  times a week increases strength by building muscle mass and bone density.
One 12-month study  conducted on postmenopausal women on a University  study demonstrated 1% gains in hip and spine bone density, 75%  increases in strength and 13% increases in dynamic balance with just two  days per week of progressive strength training.    Strength training programs can also  have a profound effect on reducing risk for falls, which translates to  fewer fractures.

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It`s Been a LONG time away :(

Wow what a long time it`s been since i`ve posted anything

To be honest i never really got into the swing of all this blogging but i`m begining to see the light!

Sooo much has been happening since i last posted i think that i should be busy posting everyday with different subjects if i can keep up with my new habit of blogging

2012 What a fabulous year for some me included the whole country was high on Olympic fever and I was apart of it 556084_309925792425601_100002245472392_660014_1686603687_n181435_309891969095650_993936484_n 544811_309892019095645_1366822719_non 30th May i carried   the torch through one of the stages of  Much Wenlock “what an honour” to carry the torch through the historic town where the modern day olympic games all began, and the stage i carried the torch i WALKED  straight pass Dr William Penny Brookes house, the roads were filled with well wishers and cheers, and everyone`s cameras were clicking away, Very many thanks to all who turned up and supported the day and events, a day i will never forget and i Celebrated with my dearest friends and family around me “Many blessings”

for more about me click here     And to see me recieve the kiss of the Olympic Torch click

Benefits of Exercise for the Elderly Study

August 8, 2010 By

Researchers in Portugal at the University of Coimbra conducted a recent study on sedentary individuals.

However, this group of sedentary people who were recruited for the study had an average age of 76. Of the 63 total participants in this study, they were randomized to a control group, progressive aerobic, and a progressive strength training group. The exercise itself was scheduled at three times per week for a total of 16 weeks.

I personally couldn’t imagine taking up exercise at the age of 76 if I had been previously sedentary. Of course, you should always discuss exercise plans with your doctor, particularly if you have any medical conditions. For those who’re around the age of the study participants, this is of greater importance. I don’t imagine many in that age group read this blog, but you never know, right?

What the researchers found in this study was that even people who started exercise at an average age of 76, experienced significant benefits on metabolic health indicators.

Results:  Exercise Benefits for the Elderly

  • Reductions in body weight, waist circumference, body mass index
  • Improvement in diastolic blood pressure
  • Improvement in blood lipid profiles – triglycerides, total cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, total cholesterol/HDL-cholesterol relationship
  • Decreased C-reactive protein (a market of inflammation)
  • Increase in 6-minute walk distance
Bottom line: It looks like it’s never too late to experience health benefits from exercise. Specifically these benefits include weight loss, lower cholesterol levels, blood pressure, markers of inflammation–not to mention improvements in actual fitness.

From the Study Authors:

In conclusion, the training programs used in this study produced significant benefits on 6-minute walk distance, DBP, BW, WC, BMI, TG, TC, HDL-C, LDL-C, TC/HDL-C, and hs-CRP. Accordingly, the results of the current study suggest that moderate intensity aerobic-based and strength-based programs, with 16 weeks of duration, are enough to positively influence the metabolic health indicators of sedentary older women and men.

Note:  Though the two groups were divided into aerobic and strength training protocols, it doesn’t seem that the study authors made note of any differences between these two groups.  A previous study involving a much younger population suggested that a combination of strength and endurance training was more effective than either alone for weight loss and improving health.

My Good News

Health Improvement Physical Activity member to carry Olympic Torch

Local Telford Girl Leighmarie Denley has been selected to carry the Olympic Torch as it travels through Much Wenlock. Leighmarie will support one of the stages of the Much Wenlock route when the torch travels through the town on May 30th2012.

Leighmarie, 41, has been a Health Improvement Physical Activity Team member since 2004. She was introduced to the team by attending, as a participant, an Aerobics session at Watlin   Street community Centre,Wellington. She was so enthused by this session it inspired her to become an instructor herself.

With the support of the SCHNHST, she went on to qualify as an Exercise to music instructor, delivering Aerobic sessions at Watlin Street, Leegomerey and then at Hadley and Donnington.

Leigh has gone onto specialise in working with the elderly and disabled, gaining qualifications in OTAGO, Postural stability, Disability gym, Special populations and many other fitness qualifications.Big Sons old baseball bat and christmas prezies off Patrick and Jude

She now delivers many diverse sessions, including Falls Prevention community based exercise sessions and delivering exercise to dementia sufferers at the Millbrook Day Centre. She supports and mentors volunteers to lead our very diverse Women in Motion female only Gym session at TCAT, and is a running coach, leading sessions on SCHNHST Well@Work running sessions. In 2008 the running club was affiliated, and Leigh played a huge part in this. Leigh also spends many hours as a volunteer encouraging and enthusing people to become more physically active.

With Leighmarie’s ethnic background she has made huge inroads in encouraging people from BME communities to get involved in physical activity, breaking down barriers and improving the attendance from these communities.

Leigh has worked privately with a disabled gentleman who lives in Newport. He is 62 and suffered a serious accident and was sadly not expected to live, let alone walk again. Leigh began work with him in July 2008 and has made a huge difference to his day to day life and that of his Daughters. When Leigh first started work with him, his range of movement was very limited and he spent most of the day in his chair. With Leigh’s care, dedication, patience and an exercise programme to suit his needs, he is now managing some of his daily care needs, such as popping his own socks on and getting out of the house and out and about on an electric scooter. He can complete six lengths in the swimming pool; Leigh had worked with him to encourage standing without the aid of crutches.

Leighmarie is a single mother of four, with children to care for and a home to run but she  has still managed to find time to make a difference. Her enthusiasm, her smile for everyone and her extreme dedication and professionalism towards improving physical activity levels within the communities of Telford and Wrekin must be admired. She is a credit to herself and Shropshire Community health NHS Trust. She deserves her moment to SHINE

“I`m so very chuffed to be given the honour of this role, i would like to sincerly like to thank Jude Bailey for all the support over the years in helping me reach my own goals and this is only the beggining xxx and for all the well wishes that i have recieved since hearing the good news, thank you very much and this is Our Moment to Shine xx

Fall prevention tips for around the home

Whether it’s slippery floors, rickety stairs, or electrical cords on the floor, some of the most common causes of falls are actually in your own home, where you might have a false sense of security. That’s why fall prevention starts with creating a living space that’s safe.

Luckily, this doesn’t have to involve major home changes . You can make your home a safer place designed for the elderly with just a few basic changes.

  1. Clean up clutter. The easiest method for preventing falls is to keep your home clean and tidy. Remove all clutter, such as stacks of old newspapers and magazines, especially from hallways and staircases.
  2. Repair or remove tripping hazards. Sometimes, home fixtures can contribute to falls, and other injuries. Examine every room and hallway, looking for items such as loose carpet, slippery rugs, or wood floorboards that stick up. Then repair, remove, or replace those items for more effective falls prevention.
  3. Install grab bars and hand rails. These safety devices are the key to going up and down stairs, getting on and off the toilet, and in and out of the bath without injuring yourself.Have a handyman or family member help with this, A lot of councils can also help with this if needed.
  4. Avoid wearing loose clothing. You want to feel comfortable at home, but baggy clothes can sometimes contribute to your risk of falling, opt for tighter-fitting and properly hemmed clothing that doesn’t bunch up or drag on the ground.
  5. Light it right. Inadequate lighting is another major hazard that can stand between you and preventing falls at home. To create a home that’s more suitable for fall prevention , install brighter light bulbs where needed, particularly in stairways and narrow hallways. Also night lights in hallways or on landings can help with night-time visits to the bathroom.
  6. Wear shoes. Socks may be comfortable, but they present a slipping risk. Preventing falls at home can be as simple as wearing shoes and anti trip slippers
  7. Make it non-slip. Bathtubs and showers, as well as floors in kitchens, bathrooms, and porches can become extremely dangerous when wet. For preventing falls on slick surfaces, placing non-slip mats where appropriate.
  8. Live on one level. Even with precautions such as guard rails, stairs can present a significant falling hazard. “If possible, live on one level, Otherwise, be extra careful when you negotiate stairs.”
  9. Move more carefully.   Many people fall at home by moving too quickly from a sitting to a standing position and vice versa. Preventing falls of this nature is as easy as simply taking your time. “All you have to do is pause after going from lying down to sitting and from sitting to standing, Also take a pause before using the railing on stairs, whether going up or down.”

Fall prevention means injury prevention. Ask your loved ones to help you ensure that your rooms and stairways are clutter-free and well-equipped with lighting, hand rails, grab bars, and non-slip mats, to help you avoid falling —  Check your garden and garage as well make sure that the pathway and steps to your property are well maintained and also well-lit, have a plan that you can put into action in case of an emergency,  These tips can go a long way toward keeping you safe in your own home.

The Importance of Falls Prevention & our Senior`s

One of the greatest but often overlooked health threats we face as we get older is falling. As we age, we are much more prone to falling than when we were younger. What’s more, the dangers and risks of those falls are greater as well, all of which makes Falls Prevention in the elderly so important.

“Seniors are at a higher risk of falling than younger people because in general they are more frail. With age comes a decrease in muscle tone, eyesight deterioration, slower reflexes, and more brittle bones.”

Because many elderly people have osteoporosis, when they fall their bones are much more likely to break, causing painful fractures, back pain, and other problems. Plus, those bones take much longer to heal when they are brittle — all reasons for putting some focus on preventing falls.

Another factor that leads to falling problems in the elderly is medication side effects — some common drugs can cause dizziness and impair balance, another reason that strategies for fall prevention in the elderly are vital. Blood-thinning medications create an additional hazard. “The problem with these generally helpful medications is that if you take a tumble and injure yourself, these medications can cause excessive bleeding. “This is especially dangerous if you hit your head during a fall.”

Falling Statistics

According to a recent review of 111 individual studies with over 55,000 participants, the risk of falling for those over the age of 65 in any given year is about 30 percent.

What’s more, about 20 percent of those falls will require medical attention; fortunately, less than 10 percent will result in a fracture.

The problem is even greater in nursing homes. “Nursing home residents have a fall rate of 1.7 falls per person per year,”

Certain types of falls have more serious consequences than others. “In the case of hip fracture victims, studies show that as many as a quarter die within a year of falling, and almost two-thirds lose the ability to perform day-to-day tasks without assistance,

Tips for Preventing Falls

There are a few simple strategies you can take for preventing falls as well as the back pain, fractures, and other medical issues that can accompany falls.

Try these steps for fall prevention in the elderly:

  • Ask your doctor or a health care provider about Falls prevention classes in your area .
  • Assess any potential hazzards in your home and correct them to reduce the risks of falling.
  • Ask your doctor if any specific medications can be changed or eliminated if they affect your balance.
  • Ask your doctor if cataract surgery or a pacemaker might be appropriate for fall prevention.
  • Wear anti-slip shoes in wet or icy conditions for preventing falls. or anti slip slipper`s around the home

It is much easier to focus on preventing falls than to recover from the serious consequences of a fall. Working with your doctor on a prevention strategy will protect your quality of life and boost longivity

Prevention better than Cure? “Yes it is!”

Specialising in exercise for the more mature or the less able-bodied

is challenging but very rewarding, i`ve been specializing in this area now for nearly 10 years, and still after specialising in this area after all these years i still find that i am still learning  constantly, searching and discovering new techniques to deliver effective sessions to special populations

As instructors we talk, talk, talk, constantly throwing out instructions, telling people what to do and how to do it! teaching points, teaching points and more teaching points but how often are our efforts really understood and soaked in by those who we aim all our good intentions to the most,   finding  the best technique and  being  open to learn from our participants as much as we want them to learn from us, is a way i have discovered that works well for me.  A lot of our older participants come to class because they have been refered to by another health care professional and thinks that because their Dr or the nice nurse has told them to do so that if they turn up they will become better after their allocated number of sessions, “if that was as easy as that wouldn’t life be great” sadly life isn’t like that, and sadly we see participants being re refered to us after they have fallen out of the programmes, and once again fallen and returning back into the system at a great cost of not only to the NHS but to themself`s, According to the severity of the fall some faller`s end up with a few bruises and sore spots, some break hips, wrists or collar bones, some never return home and remain in residential care, but mostly all end up with damaged confidence and constant fear of falling, irreparable damage, As instructors we need to help repair some of that damage in a way that not only do we encourage our participants become fitter and stronger but we have to help to repair some of that broken confidence and be able to talk freely about what brought us to this venerable state of well-being in the first place and once we can identify what has brought us to this vulnerable place, we can start to repair our confidence and prevent falls happening again

recognising why we fall is first point of call, we can help our older family members or advise our participants by

  • Medication review when was the last time a medication review took place, since then has more medication been prescribed since last review could this be causing side affects?
  • Sight Test – Is eye health in optimum condition, are glasses still appropriate
  • Home hazard – is the home safe

Tips for preventing falls in the home include:

  • mopping up spillages straight away
  • removing clutter, trailing wires and frayed carpet
  • using non-slip mats and rugs
  • using high-wattage light bulbs in lamps and torches so that you can see clearly
  • organising your home so that climbing, stretching and bending are kept to a minimum and to avoid bumping into things
  • getting help to do things that you are unable to do safely on your own
  • not walking on slippery floors in socks or tights
  • not wearing loose-fitting, trailing clothes that might trip you up
  • wearing well-fitting shoes and slippers that are in good condition and support the ankle
  • taking care of your feet by trimming toenails regularly, using moisturizer and seeing a GP or chiropodist about any foot problems

And of course staying healthy and active will go a very long way

It`s been a Good Week!!

Hi all

what a busy week it has been for fit4llife and maturemovers, I started the week off with Falls prevention Classes, I deliver several of these a week but lately Mondays have been different as I have been focusing on one particular class where the participants are all suffering with the later stages of dementia, and other crippling ailments, these classes are always different from the others I teach as in the terms of my delivery and the techniques that I use to deliver postural awareness, flexibility and mobility, and also in what I learn in return. I often use music in my classes but for this particular class I choose not to use music as I do find it too much as a distraction for the participants.  I used conversation this week to help me with this one particular class where I left inspired and grateful to of had the opportunity to meet such wonderful people who have lived such incredible lives, but sad to know that no-one is safe from this disease and it`s crippiling effects. The exercises that I deliver are based on Otago where I combine them with my other fitness knowledge  to keep my participants as mobile and as independent as possible

  • Learning to stand up from a chair unaided
  • Learning to walk forward and back with confidence and without the fear of falling
  • Improving range of movement, flexibility and strength

Being able to carry out every day activities and personal care is a form of fitness that we take for granted, and we never know when we might lose it, so the earlier on in life that we start to take better care of ourself`s,  the better, it`s never too late in life to start participating in a fitness programme, and helping to educate our older community in the importance of this is vital to their welfare 

Other Falls classes were a blast this week my new sixties cd must have triggered some memories my tailored made exercises went out the window at a particular venue and we ended up having a party! but hey as long as the movement is safe

for any advice on falls prevention please contact e-mail me

Mature Movers

Senior circuits “Oh what fun” we had this week we do enjoy ourselves at out Mature Movers`s classes for many years I have delivered a light aerobic class followed by some resistance/conditioning but this week we did something a little different.. after our general seated warm up I devised a circuit of 14 stations 1 per participant alternating aerobic and resistance work, I handed out everyone a result and progression sheet for their own reference only! everyone throughly enjoying the session and looking forward to see if they can improve their results over the following month, so here`s a space to keep a listen out for…


Running 4 Life

Now that all the snow and ice as gone and many of my old faithful`s have returned not everyone likes the challenge of running on frozen snow and ice, so we have packed in some good mileage this week, and we have already signed up for some local events and were looking for some new events, we car share so we don’t mind travelling so if anyone out there knows of some good running events to help keep us challenged please let me know you can e-mail me at

As ive said before please contact me if you have anything that you would like me to post about fitness for the less able-bodied or our beloved senior community 

Speak to you all Soon

Leigh   founder of fit4life x


My New Adventure

Hi this is my new blog………….

Where I`ll be discussing health and activity for the More mature and also falls prevention in later life

I am so excited to be launching this new online life of mine so please help me along the way and make sure you add your comments and suggestions on what advice you really need. Check out my fanpage too on facebook fit4life.

watch this space as they say 😉