Fifty plus and fighting fit: age and experience meet the spa experience
If you’re a veteran couch potato who has spent most of the past fifty years religiously pursuing a sedentary lifestyle, you’ll be relieved to know that even now there’s hope of a fit new you. For a recently published report revealed that people who don’t take up exercise until their fifties can still reap the benefits.
This good news is possibly somewhat tempered by the fact that it can take as much as ten years for the benefits of exercise to kick in – though this should still be OK (provided you live that long of course).
The information came to light following a recent study carried out in Sweden. It followed 2,205 Swedish men for more than 20 years, from the age of 50, and discovered that exercise made no difference in premature death rates for at least a decade for those who didn’t start physical activity till later in life.
But after ten years, volunteers who had only begun exercising at 50 had similar death rates to those volunteers who had been in the high activity group at the start of the study.
Researcher Liisa Byberg explains: “It has been shown that young people benefit from exercise, but this is the first time we have been able to show that old people can also benefit from increasing their physical activity.”
Fortunately, the over-fifties have never been better catered for than they are today. Activities ranging from tai-chi to tap-dancing are available for senior citizens nationwide, and fitness clubs and spa hotels have introduced a vast range of activities to create the perfect spa experience for our burgeoning older generation.
Tales abound of citizens well into their eighties who are undertaking their first parachute jump or setting out to climb the Inaccessible Pinnacle on Skye. For the slightly less adventurous, a host of exercise classes and even mind gym sessions are on hand to keep those muscles and grey cells in shape.
So the basic message is that even if you’ve spent a slothful first half-century on this earth, you too may be able to swap your comfy slippers for an equally comfy pair of trainers, don some baggy tracksuit bottoms plus a slightly tight (round the middle) tee-shirt and start extending your own life.
As Liisa points out encouragingly: “It’s not too late to start.”