RUN OR WALK: Put your exercise shoes on this spring
RUN OR WALK: Put your exercise shoes on this spring

Put your exercise shoes on this spring

THERE are few barriers to living a good life and being physically active if you follow some simple guidelines.

Remembering that when we exercise for heart health, we are also working on our brain health, says Blackmore's Sydney Running Festival ambassador and cardiologist Dr Jason Kaplan. "For seniors who want to retain their cognitive sharpness, exercise is one of the most important things we can do," Dr Kaplan said.

"If the physiological and mental effects of exercise could be made into a drug, it would be the world's best-selling drug."

  • Start with light exercise working your way up incrementally until you are doing at least 10,000 steps a day.
  • Not exercising regularly is like taking a depressant; it's a natural anti-depressant and mood lifter.
  • Try to take the stairs, get off the train one station earlier, park a little farther away than normal from the shops; all these small efforts can lead to more incremental daily exercise.
  • Go for more than two hours and aim for three hours of moderate intensity exercise every week. Try to fit in between 20 and 25 minutes of brisk walking in your day, every day, and you will reach the recommended amount of weekly exercise easily.
  • Aim for 85 per cent of your maximum heart rate which you can work out by subtracting 220 from your age.
  • Whatever exercise you do, choose one that you enjoy and find easy to do often.

If you have a physical limitation or disability Dr Kaplan encourages you to still find way to be active each day.  He recommends exercising in a few different ways -

  • Try stretching to improve flexibility in the muscles.
  • Increase your heart rate for extended periods of time through aerobic activity. Water aerobics, recumbent bikes, stand up rowers, resistance bands, for example.
  • Do strength or resistance training.
  • Try yoga and pilates that is modified to suit your physical limitations.
  • Work your way slowly towards your exercise goals.

"Seeing an exercise physiologist and getting an exercise program is a great way to start," Dr Kaplan said. It's also a good idea to have that person show you how to do your exercises in the correct way.

Dr Kaplan also recommends you talk to your doctor before starting any exercise program.

This year Blackmores has got behind Special Olympics Australia by supporting their athlete's involvement in any way they can in the annual Sydney Running Festival which is on September 16. "It caters to people of all levels," Dr Kaplan said.

Entries are still open for runners at run.blackmores.com.au or if you are in Sydney, you can go along and cheer the 33,000 or more participants and help them raise funds for a variety of needy causes. For more information, go to www.sydneyrunningfestival.com.au.


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