Having won Gold in the 1972 Olympics in Munich, Dame Mary Peters knows a thing or two about keeping fit. However, with only 17% of men, and 13% of women, over the age of 65 doing the recommended level of exercise each week*, is fitness solely for the young at heart?
73 year old Dame Mary thinks not. To prove that later life can be a greater life, the former athlete has teamed up with leading retirement developer, McCarthy & Stone, with a Later Living development at Ermine Court in Ware, to offer top tips to the over 60s on keeping fit.
"Whatever your age, the key to success is having fun," says Dame Mary. "It can be difficult to motivate yourself to do the recommended 2.5 hours of exercise each week, particularly as you get older, but it doesn't have to be difficult. Start slowly, and with the things you enjoy, and you'll soon find that exercise becomes a part of your everyday life."
Swimming is one of the best forms of exercise you can get; it works all the body's major muscles, and is a great cardiovascular workout. You'll be able to watch your fitness improve, as gradually you'll be able to swim further and further. But if you find swimming too monotonous, ask your local pool if it runs aqua aerobics classes as a fun alternative.
A lot can be said for walking, even if it's just a stroll around the park, or down to the local shops. Good for mind, body and soul, regular walking can play a significant part in helping to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol, while simply getting out into the great outdoors helps to alleviate stress and tension.
Dance; whether it's ball room, line dancing, or even Zumba, put your dancing shoes on and bust some moves. You'll find you're having so much fun, it won't even feel like exercise.
Keep your joints loose, and your muscles supple, by joining a local Pilates or Yoga group. This gentle form of exercise not only helps strengthens your body, but will also help relax your mind. Most groups welcome people of all ages - while some sports clubs offer classes exclusively for the over 50s. Ask your local gym for a timetable and get stretching.
And for the more adventurous, why not try something completely new? Rock climbing, water sports, Zorbing - or even sky diving. There's a real increase in the number of older people trying out adventure sports - so unleash your inner adrenaline junkie.
Of course, everyone will have different levels of fitness ability. "It's important you listen to your body," Dame Mary continues: "Sky diving is possibly a little extreme for many; it certainly is for me! But there's no reason why gentle exercise, such as walking or swimming, can't be incorporated into your everyday life. However, if in doubt, always check with your GP first."
McCarthy & Stone, the UK's leading retirement developer, is committed and passionate about making people's later life a greater life. The developer is currently selling a range of purpose built, one and two bedroom Later Living apartments at Ermine Court on Coronation Road in Ware. As well as offering a low maintenance lifestyle, purchasers can benefit from [maintained landscaped gardens, a central lounge and the peace of mind of added security. Prices currently start from £218,950.
See Also: Property News (8698), McCarthy & Stone (628), Ermine Court (6), Ware (20), Hertfordshire (31)
Date Published: 27 July 2012