The Importance of Physical Exercise

The Importance of Physical Exercise,

I was flattered to be asked to say a few words about the importance of Physical Exercise, especially for older people.
I don’t claim to be an expert on the subject but what I can do is pass on some of what I  have learned from different classes and courses which I have attended through the years.
From an early age I had a great belief in the benefits of keeping fit and active.
The first class I attended was in a ballroom in Harcourt St. in Dublin. When I was 18, I went to work in Dublin. Having come from the country where I was used to the wide open spaces, and where you walked and cycled everywhere in the fresh air, I felt confined and suffocated in the city. I decided to join a class with the fancy name of “the league of Health and Beauty” The dedicated instructor there took us through a wonderful exercise routine for the next six weeks.
The first thing we were asked to do was walk around the room with a thick book – similar to a telephone directory – on our heads without letting it fall.. This is how we learned the importance of good posture. Head up, chest out and walk from the hips!  It took us a few weeks to master it.
There are so many forms of physical exercise available e.g. golf, bowling, dancing, swimming, tennis ,cycling  etc. etc. It is my belief there is no better way to keep fit than walking. It’s low impact, it’s all weather, it suits all ages, and most importantly, it’s free. Being out in the open is far more attractive than sweating it out on a treadmill. It is well documented that it helps 1. to increase bone density thus preventing osteoporosis. 2. It improves overall physical and psychological health. 3. Helps to preserve independent living.  4. It reduces risk of coronary heart disease .5. It helps to control stress, obesity and diabetes
 Because of our changeable climate it is very easy to find  the perfect excuse – “it is too cold, too wet or  windy, or I’m too tired.! We have two dedicated members in our walking club who are  perfect examples of “all weather walkers” They are out every day -hail, rain or snow. They are an example to us all. The important thing is to wear suitable clothing and comfortable supportive footwear. You should always go at a pace that is comfortable for you
Although you not be able to go for a jog or even a walk, there is still a lot you can do. With limited mobility you can do simple chair exercises. These can be done at your own pace at home on your own or with friends. Physical exercise helps build your strength and flexibility, reduces depression , anxiety and stress.
 We are lucky to have a very active walking club in our Active Retirement group so I encourage you all to come to the walking track in Brackernagh every Tues. morning at 10.30 am. The sessions form a healthy as well as an important and enjoyable social occasion.

Aqua aerobics is also another excellent way of keeping fit.  It improves your cardiovascular and respiratory systems without placing stress on the joints. It’s a fun and easy way to exercise, strengthen and tone muscles. Aqua aerobics suits people of all ages with all sorts of health conditions. And you don’t need to be able to swim!
To keep in shape and healthy come along and join the gang in the Coral leisure centre every Mon and Thurs. 2-3 pm.
Enjoy your Summer, keep fit, healthy and well.

Chris O’Flynn , 25th April 2016

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