A lot of good health comes down to good balance – a well-balanced diet, a decent work/life balance and the ability to move about without falling over. ‘Although falls can happen to any of us at any age, they’re the leading cause of death in older people,’ says Dr Melanie WynneJones. It’s the combination of decreasing muscle mass and strength as we age, plus weaker bones, which can break more easily if we fall. ‘One in three people over 65 falls at least once a year,’ she explains. ‘More than 70,000 suffer hip fractures, a quarter of which are fatal.’
But there are plenty of things we can do to maintain muscle strength and balance as we age. Keeping moving is key because it helps improve stability and muscle tone.
Yoga and Pilates can strengthen hip and knee muscles, and improve posture. And weight-bearing exercise, such as walking and jogging/running, are particularly good for building strong leg muscles, which can improve your strength and balance.
Am I getting enough resistance?
Resistance exercise helps build strong muscles, which are not only important for balance – good muscle mass boosts your immune system and metabolism, and helps you maintain a healthy weight. Make sure you do some resistance exercise a couple of times a week. Weights or resistance bands are great but you don’t need to be sweating it in a gym because body-weight exercise work just as well.
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