In my last blog I was critical of a doctor who seemed be giving a 104 year old advice about fitness which didn’t take into account her age, in other words her life stage.
From my own experience and that of my friends I am beginning to realise how important it is for us to find some way of keeping fit. It needs to be appropriate to our current health and any disabilities we may have of course.
For those of us who are over 65 we grew up at a time when physical fitness didn’t play a part in anyone’s lives except that of sporty type people. We weren’t dashing off to the gym as today’s younger people often are. Apart from anything else there wasn’t enough money in the family budget even if we had realised how important it was.
This leaves us without a history of automatically scheduling it into either our budget or time. It also means that many of us don’t realise how important it is just to enable us to live well both physically and mentally.
One of the major problems we face as we get older is the prospect of getting dementia, a prospect which increases as each year passes. In the past Alzheimer’s Association has suggested that we do puzzles to keep our brains active but even they are admitting the limited benefits of this. This is where the fitness gurus are coming to our rescue. It seems as though having an increased blood flow which exercise does for us (and makes us feel good and positive) also increases the blood flow to our brains which helps to keep it healthy too.
So that leaves the question of how to exercise. Some people are happy to go to a gym a few times a week, including doing things like Tai Chi classes. In my case I would find such a plan took away from my freedom and added to the time it took with travel time. In my case I bought a not-expensive treadmill a few years ago and I go on that several times a week, supplemented by a step and also gardening occasionally and a walk even less frequently.
These thoughts were actioned by reports from friends who do exercise and get the benefit of it and those who have family members who don’t exercise and tend to deteriorate, particularly physically.
The other influence on me was watching an interview with Dr Ross Walker, a fitness expert who listed the health checks we should be having in each age group. At long last! All we need now is to have health departments recognising that health and fitness go together and to arrange for us pensioners to have our fitness checked at regular intervals (perhaps every 6 months). This would identify if we had deteriorated since our last visit (allowing for ageing) and why. I’m sure this could give an early warning of problems ahead we might be able to halt or at least allow for.
I’m tired of being told about the problems, particularly in terms of cost, of our ageing population yet reducing this isn’t considered. I think the word is ‘doh’!