Our last two blogs focused on how to overcome ageing muscles. This week we’re discussing why it’s important to keep our heart and lungs healthy too.
It’s important to maintain strong heart and lungs as you get older in order to keep your mobility and independence so you can do the things you love. An increased heart rate when undertaking activities, such as bringing in the wood or carrying the groceries, or the puffed feeling you might experience after going for a walk, indicates how well your lungs and heart can manage an increase in activity.
This is known as cardio-respiratory fitness and is a good indication of how healthy or unhealthy your heart and lungs are. You may have found over the years that you feel a little less fit than you used to, and everyday activities are now more difficult than they once were.
Our exercise physiologists commonly see people who feel short of breath or ‘unfit’ when doing things that were once easy start to become challenging. This can be quite confronting when it happens, but it’s important to know that you can do something about it!
So, how do you tackle this problem?
Current Australian guidelines, based on the World Health Organisation’s recommendations, are that adults over the age of 50 should complete 150 minutes of aerobic exercise at moderate intensity on five or more days of the week.
Walking and bike riding are all good examples of aerobic exercises that are low impact on joints, and specifically help to improve heart and lung health. Moderate intensity is working at about 7 out of 10, meaning it would be difficult to maintain a conversation with someone while you exercise.
To start off, try going for a 20-minute walk at a comfortable pace 2 x a week. As you improve, you can increase your pace or distance. Don’t overdo it!
If you have any concerns about whether aerobic exercise is safe for you, feel free to contact the clinic or book an appointment online to come and see our exercise physiologist.