Exercise for the over 55’s

Keeping your Heart Healthy

“Exercise Over 55”

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and exercising regularly plays a major role in the prevention and management of cardiovascular disease with a 30-50% CVD risk reduction noted with the uptake of physical activity. As 90% of all cardiovascular disease is preventable it is important we are engaging in a healthy lifestyle and this must include increasing our physical activity and exercise levels moving away from sedentary behaviour and inactivity.

People often lack confidence when it comes to starting a new exercise routine but it is important to remember you can start an exercise programme easily, at your own pace and with minimal support if you follow a few simple tips for success. The joy and freedom of some physical activity and exercise programmes means that they can be completed in many different settings, even in the comfort of your own home with minimal equipment required; all you need is a little motivation and direction.

The Science Bit

Being physically active helps prevents and controls a multitude of health problems, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes and obesity. Regular participation in physical activity and aerobic exercise can improve exercise capacity, cardiovascular fitness, help lower your blood pressure, lower your heart rate and improve your overall quality of life. It can also improve your energy levels and may help to relieve any stress or low mood that you might be feeling.

What are the goals for exercising over 55?

Adults are advised to accumulate at least 150 minutes of weekly physical activity in bouts of 10 minutes or more. Following the F.I.T.T principle can help you plan and organise your exercise weekly and is a gradual guide to improving cardiovascular fitness:

Frequency: Try to engage in aerobic exercise 3-4 days a week.

Intensity: Take it easy at the beginning and gradually increase what you are doing. As long as you are at a moderate intensity where you can speak while you’re exercising you’re managing the intensity of the activity correctly. Remember to warm up before and cool down after any activity and if you experience chest pain, dizziness or nausea you should stop exercising immediately. If these symptoms continue, contact your doctor.

Time: Your exercise should start gradually; this may be 5-10 min bouts. Your aim as you improve is to exercise for approximately 20-30mins.

Type: Aerobic exercise includes walking, swimming, cycling, jogging, running, rowing etc.

Denise Dunne

Specialist Cardiac Physiotherapist, Croi.

For plenty of tips and advice on physical activity, visit:

www.getirelandactive.ie

www.getirelandwalking.ie

www.iscp.ie