Exercise to fight the signs of ageing
Photo: Pexels

YES, you're getting old, and fat. And the Devil isn't the only liar, your mirror is too, having fooled you for so long. But candid photos don't lie, and you finally realised what was really up when your family took that picture of you and posted it in the family WhatsApp group.

So embarrassing. But now that you've accepted that you're no longer that svelte filly that you thought you were, you can start taking care of yourself. So knowledge can really be a blessing in disguise.

Fact is, as you get older you will begin to face health issues that come with ageing — issues like lifestyle diseases and physical ailments. And if you're not active, this lack of activity can exacerbate the issues that you have. Weight gain will occur in unwelcome places, your skin will sag and become sallow, and you may look worn out. Physical activity can help alleviate some of these ailments, and that's why trainer Lennox Richards says the time to start is now, before things get worse.

So have you been given a wake-up call in the form of a photo, or someone's comment, or a number on the scale, and you know that it's time to do something about your physical health?

Richards says you need to start an exercise programme:

To keep yourself at low risk for illness

"Start walking or jogging each morning as a start to get your blood pumping and your muscles moving," he said. "Once you start you will see immediate changes to your body and even your mind."

To reduce inflammation

"All sorts of problems come with getting older, especially when your joints haven't remained active," Richards said.

"So stretch before you start each activity… stretch, then stretch some more. Then afterwards you need to increase your cardio so health problems don't have a chance to settle in."

To improve your mental health

Physical activity keeps your blood flowing and sends enough oxygen to the brain. This can keep your faculties intact much longer than expected.

"When you exercise you release feel-good hormones and it boosts your energy and gives you clarity," Richards said. "Note that as soon as you get into a routine your entire outlook will change."

He recommends talking to a trainer and your doctor about the best set of exercises and the appropriate levels for your particular life stage.

"But, as a general rule, most people start with walking or jogging or water aerobics before they move into the more strenuous activities," he said.

LICHELLE PALMER

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