In the press this week it mentioned how exercising in middle age can offset the harms of being obese, although it’s still infuriates me that the study referred to obese being linked purely to body mass index (BMI). Surely, it’s time to start moving away from that measurement particularly when encouraging exercise and building muscle mass! The study assessed 5,300 people aged 55 – 97 (average 70) and tracked them for 15 years. It found that those both overweight and inactive were a third more likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke than if they were of a healthy weight and exercised but overweight or obese people could wipe out this risk if they were active for at least four hours a day including housework and walking and if made a part of life.
This got me thinking about how I struggle to get people to be more active on the Slim for Good programme. Many, like me didn’t exercise much as a child and avoiding school sports was a mission! I always thought that I should exercise but I didn’t really enjoy it and the thought of plodding away in a gym and the embarrassment of being next to fit young men and women looking in the vast number of mirrors admiring their muscles as they lifted more weight than I can only dream about. So, I have always hidden at the back in exercise classes and must admit that I now enjoy this environment and most instructors are a great inspiration and motivation.
But last December I thought that it was all getting rather comfortable and I kept hearing how important is it to exercise more with weights as we get older to protect our bone mass, keep our metabolism high and burn more fat. So, I found a new small friendly Gym called The Fitness Space in Malvern and a few of us joined en masse (our comfort blanket!) and I must say it has eliminated my preconceptions and fears. The staff couldn’t be more supportive and motivating, I go when quieter but I’m delighted that I don’t feel embarrassed at all, there are all ages, shapes and sizes, all types of health concerns catered for and it doesn’t feel like they are just interested in taking our money and moving onto the next new prospect. The monthly reviews and the App make everything more personal and interesting. Everything is achievable but stretching and importantly a giggle too (I’m not planning on being a marathon runner, I just want to be fitter at 55!). So, I’m pleased to say that not all gyms are not the same and I’d recommend anyone to give it a go, if I can do it so can you. It’s only eight weeks but I’m feeling stronger and more toned and thank goodness no back or knee aches, so I’ve saved money at the chiropractor too!
Go for it you have time before the Summer to make a big difference. if you are a Slim for Good member and The Fitness Space Malvern suits you can get a discount there too.