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9 Exercises To Age Proof Your Body – Diabetes and Sarcopenia

Try these simple moves to beat age-related aches and pains and cut your risk of getting ill.

Staying active as you age is the most important thing you can do for your health. Physical activity helps you fight back against chronic ‘age-related’ diseases such as diabetes, dementia, heart disease, stroke, arthritis and cancer.

It’s also great for your mental health helping to reduce stress, anxiety, depression and making you feel happier. Exercise experts offer advice and some simple exercises to keep you strong, healthy and happy…

Keep Strong to Prevent Sarcopenia

Resistance training is one of the best ways to reduce risk of injury and conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis.

From our mid-30s we lose around 3-5% of our muscle mass each decade, known as sarcopenia. The old adage ‘use it or lose it’ is the motto here. Resistance training should be the priority over cardiovascular exercise.

Working out with a resistance band, hand weights or doing body-weight exercises at home is perfect. You need just 15-20 minutes two or three times a week.

Warm Up To Stay Safe

Warming up properly is crucial, but tailor it to the activity you are about to do. If you’re playing tennis or swimming, go through ‘range of movement’ exercises for your upper body. Running will require the same for the lower body.

It’s important to avoid ‘static’ stretching before exercise, too. Mobilise joints and muscles with dynamic warm-up exercises instead, which improve blood flow to the muscles and increase range of movement.

Try These and Keep Sarcopenia at Bay

1. Corkscrew Twists

Stand with your feet shoulder-distance apart. Cross your arms across your chest, with your hands on your shoulders. Slowly rotate from side to side like a corkscrew. Repeat 20 times.

2. Arm Swings

Stand with your feet hip distance apart and arms by your sides. Slowly make big circles with your arms, either one at a time or together.

3. Squats

Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and arms out in front of you. Sit back into a squat position, pushing your bottom out – like you’re sitting down on to an imaginary chair – and push back up to standing position. Repeat this 10-15 times.

4. Leg Swings

Stand on one leg, holding on to a support. Keep the other leg straight and slowly swing the other leg forward and backward from the hip. Try 10-15 swings on each leg.

5. Sit To Stand

Sit on a chair with your feet hip-distance apart and your arms out in front of you. Push up to standing using your legs and bottom muscles, pause, then slowly lower yourself back down. Repeat this 10-20 times.

6. Calf Raises

Stand with your hands on the back of a chair or kitchen surface for support. Slowly rise up on to your toes, pause, then slowly lower and repeat. You’ll feel your calf muscles working. Repeat this 15-20 times.

7. Upright Rows

Stand upright, holding a pair of hand weights next to your thighs, with your arms straight and palms facing towards your legs. Leading with your elbows, pull the weights up to chest height, then lower and repeat. This uses your shoulder muscles. Repeat this 15-20 times.

8. Bicep Curls

Using a set of hand weights, stand upright holding the weights down by your sides and with your palms facing away from your body. Slowly bend your arms together, curling the weights up towards your chest, lower and repeat. Repeat this exercise 15-20 times.

9. Walk This Way

The safest and most simple way to get active is with brisk walking. It’s free, easy and effective. Walking briskly is the important bit most people don’t walk quickly enough. Aim to do at least 10 minutes of brisk walking each day to reap the health benefits.

Arthritis and Sarcopenia

Keeping muscles strong and the joints moving well can be a useful way to manage arthritis pain. It seems counter-intuitive, but ‘rest is not best’ when you have arthritis. Try to keep moving and stay active. You may not be able to do this without some discomfort, but that’s normal and you’re unlikely to make your joints worse. Try to work with your body and see what you can tolerate. Some gentle movement and strengthening exercises may prevent your arthritis from becoming worse. Search for ‘everyday exercises’, which you can do at home to help with joint pain.

How Exercise Cuts Your Risk of Diseases

Arthritis 83% less risk
Diabetes 50% less risk
Bowel and breast cancer -30-50% less risk
Heart disease and stroke 35% less risk
Dementia 30% less risk

E294 – Diabetes and Sarcopenia –

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