As we age, our bodies continually change. At some point in our 30s, we start to lose muscle mass and function and, for those that are physically inactive, you can lose as much as 5 per cent of your muscle mass each decade after that1.Whether you spent your younger years sticking to a strict fitness regime, or you’ve never set foot in a gym, it’s really never too late to try some gentle, physical activity. In fact, to reduce the rate of natural bone loss it’s recommended that woman aim to do muscle-strengthening activities at least two days a week2.
Take household chores seriously
Maintaining strong bones should not be overlooked. Remember that by going about your day-to-day chores - from gardening and carrying heavy shopping bags – your muscles are being strengthened. However, for those wanting to support their bone health from the inside, vitamin D can help our bodies absorb and use calcium.
Up your step count
Walking is a great weight-bearing exercise and can have a positive impact on bone health. From weekend strolls to simply climbing stairs, any additional steps will help reduce the risk of injury. This is because when your feet and legs support your weight, your bones have to work harder, making them stronger. Set yourself a daily step goal which can count towards your recommended 150 minutes of weekly exercise.
Muscle-strengthening exercises include any activity that requires your muscles to work harder than normal as well as working the tendons that attach muscle to bone, helping to boost bone strength4. Weight machines and using free-standing weights are instrumental in strength training, however exercising with a resistance band can help improve your strength and flexibility too. Not only are they great for people with limited mobility, but you can practice the exercises - from leg presses to bicep curls - from the comfort of your home. Watch a 'how to' from the British Heart Foundation here.
Yoga for beginners
Flexibility is important as it helps prevent your muscles becoming short and tight, meaning you're more likely to avoid injury. The greater your range of movement, the easier it is for you to go about your everyday tasks. While yoga isn't considered strength training, if it is challenging enough it can be beneficial to posture. For those needing more stability, Chair Yoga with Adrienne is a great starting point. It activates the muscles that help you find length up through the spine for better posture and energy flow. For a short beginners session watch here.