Exercise has shown countless benefits from the top of your head to the tip of your toes over the course of your entire lifetime. Exercise improves sleep quality, energy levels, self-esteem, and mental wellness. If that is not enough to get you moving more, exercise has also shown to decrease levels of anxiety, depression and a whole host of diseases from osteoarthritis, heart attacks, cancer and death. The most important thing to do, whatever your ability, is to plan for exercise within your week. Formulating and writing down your goals makes you 42% more likely to achieve them.*
Exercise For Longevity
Dr Joseph Kwan, Associate Professor in Geriatric Medicine at HKU says, “Regular exercise not only reduces the risk of dying, it also prevents the development of some cancers, as well as age-related decline such as frailty, falls, fractures and memory loss. For healthy ageing, exercise regimes should focus on four elements: cardio-pulmonary fitness, muscle strength and power, flexibility, and balance.” Ultimately, if we are fortunate to live long enough, preserving mobile and cognitive independence becomes paramount. Continuing exercise ensures the best chances at both. See our 6 Top Tips for Exercise on how to make fitness a regular part of your weekly routine.
Exercise for Strength
Muscle is not only useful for doing the things you want to do everyday; strong muscles also keep joints healthy. Fortunately there are lots of ways to add strength training into your exercise plan. Personal trainer, Martine Pellegrini Pettit says, “There is no right or wrong way to build strength, but it is crucial to choose a method that suits your lifestyle and goals. Join a gym for weights and machines, do body weight exercises at home, or try rock climbing or parkour for outdoor strength work. If you’re just beginning a strength program pick exercises that work your whole body and increase difficulty over time to ensure progress.”
Exercise for Endurance
Long distance walking, running, cycling, paddling or any sport that demands time and effort requires a special mix of training. The key here may not be the training itself but the organization it takes ahead of time with rehydration, nourishment and mapping out a course. According to Doug Rennie, the key to success is actually finding a rhythm for the time on your feet and adding interval training to build strength and improve stamina. Finding friends or a group can also keep your motivation in check for long periods of exercise.
Exercise for Speed
Co-founder of 26 Coaching and Hong Kong triathlete Kate Rutherford says, “Every athlete wants more speed. We need to stimulate and increase muscle memory into working faster, harder and for longer by engaging fast twitch muscles and recruiting explosive moves. Simple exercises can be introduced in a controlled way such as agility ladders, fast twitch reaction movements, plyometrics, interval and acceleration training. Other factors include learning correct technique and a proper warm-up and cool-down with active and static stretches.
Exercise for Flexibility
Injury prevention, muscle healing, and improved performance are just a few benefits of staying nimble. Fortunately, there are lots of ways to do this including yoga or seeing a stretching specialist. There are updated guidelines on stretching; stretch only after doing a light warm-up to prevent injuries from pushing inactive muscles too far. Generally flexibility decreases with age and the body becomes static after sitting at a desk for too long. Stretching at work is a great way to maintain concentration, engagement and improves productivity without breaking a sweat.