In this blog we’ll help you understand why exercise is important and give you our test to find out how you can improve your ageing process.

As you reach retirement you may wonder why exercise is important. As we age, our bodies go through a lot of changes. We lose muscle mass and bone density, and our joints and ligaments become less flexible. These changes can make us weaker and more susceptible to injuries.

 

Exercise is essential for healthy ageing, as it helps to maintain muscle mass, bone density and flexibility. It also boosts the immune system and helps to reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. In addition, exercise can help to improve mental health, mood and cognitive function.

 

So whatever your age, it’s never too late to start being active! Before we show you the easiest way to become more active I want to share with you a shocking statistic when it comes to helathy ageing.

 

That is that 84% of deaths in the UK are from causes considered preventable (ref). Preventable deaths mean that these deaths could have been avoided by public health interventions focused on healthy ageing habits. But despite many deaths being preventable, life expectancy in Scotland is actually increasing. But life expectancy only tells half the story.

 

In Scotland 20 years ago, life expectancy was 76, but disability-free life expectancy was 61. Disability-free life expectancy is the number of years you can expect to live without a disability. So, 20 years ago you’d have lived 15 years with a disability if you lived until 76. Today, life expectancy has actually gone up to 79, but disability-free life expectancy is still 61. So, that means that if you live until 79, you’ll live 18 years with a disability (ref).

 

So, although we are surviving longer, we are not thriving for longer or living with a high quality of life throughout retirement. In summary, people are living longer, but not better, and this extra time is most often spent in care with a disability.

why exercise is important

That’s why we’ve created this comprehensive guide to healthy ageing. In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about healthy ageing and get answers to the following questions:

 

– What are the benefits of investing in my health pension?

– Why should I invest in my health pension?

– What is a healthy life curve?

– What is Healthy Ageing?

– How Can I Achieve Healthy Ageing?

FIND OUT YOUR HEALTH LEVEL IN SECONDS!

It’s a free and quick easy-to-use tool to find out your health level and why exercise is important.

TAKE THE TEST

What are the Benefits of Investing in my Health Pension?

You may well be wondering, is disability not just a normal consequence of ageing? The life curve below represents the general population, the vast majority of which unfortunately don’t meet the minimum recommended guidelines.

why exercise is important

Because not meeting the health guidelines is very common, we often think of preventable illness and aches and pains as a normal part of ageing. However, this is not the case.

A useful analogy we like to use is your financial pension being a lot like your health pension. So the question is, are you paying into your health pension for healthy ageing? Your health pension is just like your financial pension, in that paying into it is one of the best investments you can make. Accumulating compound interest each year, with tax relief on your pension contributions means the earlier you start, the better.

why exercise is important

As you can see, paying in half as much, Bob here accumulates much more interest because he starts investing much earlier than Dave. And it’s the same with your health pension, the sooner you start paying in, the better, as you’ll get better returns the younger you are. So here, Bob exercises less than Dave, but because he starts earlier, he’s able to get much better returns on his investment in his health.

why exercise is important

Why Should I Invest in my Health Pension?

With an ageing population not meeting the minimum health guidelines, the need for long-term care is likely to double in the next few decades. But if you’re not very active right now, the good news is that you get the best returns for your efforts when you first start out. And remember, it doesn’t matter how old you are. You can massively improve your health if you start now.

The main point we want you to take away today is that investing in your health pension now will give you much better returns than doing it later for healthy ageing. And the earlier you start, the more interest you can accumulate. It doesn’t matter how old or young you are, what matters is that you start paying into your health pension right now to experience healthy ageing. This is what we aim to help people do with our Personal Training  and Physiotherapy services in Edinburgh and online.

Paying into your health pension pot is a lot like paying into your financial pot. Imagine the pot is your physical capacity and the stressors in your life are the liquid. The larger your pot the more stress your body can tolerate and the more activities in life you are able to do.

health level pension pots

The larger your pot the more capacity your body has for healthy ageing and doing activities of everyday living, without becoming overwhelmed or tired. With a small pot, however, it doesn’t take much for the cup to overflow and create pain and discomfort.

To grow your pot you need to stress the body with physical activity. But the more you move the more your pot improves. The added bonus of a health pension over a financial pension, however, is that it starts paying out immediately! This means that you’ll have more energy, greater health and less risk of disease week on week, effectively reversing the effects you feel from ageing.

What is a Healthy Life Curve?

Here’s an outline of the different curves your life can take, depending on your health habits. Below, we’ll be outlining the small steps that you can take which will have a huge impact on your health and quality of life. Ultimately, the more you put into your health pension, the better your life curve will be, and the more likely you are to experience healthy ageing.

health Levels

But why is a healthy life curve so important? Well, the quality of your life is so much more important than just living longer, it’s also about healthy ageing. A person who is very ill and might only live for a few years may have a far less high-quality life than someone who dies at 100 with no major illnesses. Quality really does matter as it’s how you’re going to be spending your retirement! Your health is wealth, and we think everyone should be able to enjoy their retirement to the maximum, so don’t you agree?

What is Healthy Ageing?

Health is defined as “the state of complete physical and mental wellbeing” and not merely the absence of disease or depression. There is no single one-off thing or trick we can do to be healthy and there is no product we can buy.  Instead, your health is the sum of your health behaviours or habits which we perform each and every day without even thinking about it.

But changing behaviours and learning healthy habits comes at a cost to our time and effort. The better your healthy habits the better your health level.

Take our test to find out which level you are in at the moment.

TAKE THE HEALTH LEVEL TEST

How Can I Achieve Healthy Ageing?

Below we’ll show you how much of your time and effort you need to invest in your activity levels, nutrition and recovery (sleep and stress) to get the benefits of healthy ageing.

You can then decide if the return on your investment of time and effort is worth it or not.

With each ‘level’ of health, we’ll outline the benefits and tradeoffs as well as what you need to do more and less of.

FIND OUT YOUR HEALTH LEVEL IN SECONDS!

It’s a free and quick easy-to-use tool to find out your health level and why exercise is important.

TAKE THE TEST
health level 1

Benefits:

  • Requires no effort or thought
  • Easy to sustain

 

Trade-Offs:

Risk of disease:

  • Increased lifetime risk of cancers by up to 62%, heart disease by up to 21% and risk of stroke by up to 60%
  • Poor life expectancy and life quality
  • You are more likely to need medication to manage various conditions.

 

How you look:

  • You’re likely to be very tired and very overweight
  • You are more likely to look older than you are

 

How you feel:

  • Often breathless when going upstairs
  • Low energy and tired for large parts of the day due to very bad sleep quality
  • Very often craving poor quality food and treats
  • Stressed for the majority of the day as less than 10 mins of self-care ‘me-time’ is taken each day
  • Sleep quality is very bad as it takes a long time to get to sleep and total sleep time can often be less than 5 hours

 

Investment of time and effort:

  • No time or effort is needed.

 

What you do more of:

  • Eating treats make up the majority of your overall nutrition
  • Drinking caffeine after 2 pm every day
  • Using your snooze button every morning
  • Binge-watching TV, eating a big meal, having serious conversations and/or doing work just before bed every night
  • Using your phone in bed each night
  • Staying in bed when you can’t sleep
  • Sharing a room with a noisy partner e.g. snorer
  • Use any of the following as stress recovery strategies every day:
    • Alcohol and drugs
    • Social media
    • Smoking

 

What you do less of:

  • Walking less than 5000 steps a day
  • No purposeful exercise during the week
  • No progressive resistance training during the week
  • Eating just 0-1 portions of fruit and vegetables
  • Never create a quiet, cool, dark, tidy, bedroom for sleeping
  • Never take a break from work to preserve your mental workload.
  • Never plan your day and/or prioritise your to-do list
  • Never say no to unnecessary stress
  • Never ask for help with stressful issues or outsourcing stress
  • Never prioritise and protect your self-care time
  • Never use any of the following as stress recovery strategies:
    • Walking
    • Get out in nature
    • Connect with friends
    • Exercise
    • Write in a journal
    • Have a hot bath

 

There are very few benefits of being in Level 0, other than requiring no thought or effort.

Having Level 0 habits is a good way of maximising your chances of living with disability, reducing your quality of life and dieing prematurely.

If you’re at Level 0 right now, then the good news is that even the smallest change to your health habits will have a big impact on your health and wellbeing when you do them consistently.

To get help moving up to level 1 click below.

MOVE TO LEVEL 1

FIND OUT YOUR HEALTH LEVEL IN SECONDS!

It’s a free and quick easy-to-use tool to find out your health level and why exercise is important.

TAKE THE TEST

Benefits:

Risk of disease:

  • Reduced lifetime risk of cancers by upto 7%, heart disease by upto 17% and stroke by upto 23%

 

How you look:

  • Slightly less tired than level 0
  • Younger than level 0 but you’re still likely to look older than you are

 

How you feel:

  • Slighty more energy than level 0 but still tired for large parts of the day due to fairly bad sleep quality
  • Stressed for a large part of the day as very little self-care ‘me-time’ is taken each day
  • Sleep is fairly bad as it still takes you a while to get to sleep and total sleep time can be just 5-6 hours some nights.

 

What you can do:

  • Able to enjoy long walks with friends/family without feeling too exhausted.

 

Trade Offs:

Risk of disease:

  • You’ll still have poor overall health, life expectancy and life quality
  • You’ll still have a high chance of living with a disability in later life.
  • You’re still more likely to need medication to manage various conditions

 

How you look:

  • You’re likely to be significatnly overweight but not obese.
  • You will likely look older than you are

 

How you feel:

  • You’ll feel energised for 1/3 of your day but tired for 2/3
  • You’ll feel older than you are

 

Investment of time and effort:

  • Requires some thought and planning
  • You may need to use your car and/or public transport less frequently so that you walk more.

 

What you do more of:

  • Walking 5000-7499 steps a day including at least 10 minutes outside each day
  • You do some purposeful exercise and progressive resistance training once a week
  • You eat more fruit and vegetables with 2-3 portions a day
  • Eating treats makes up half of your overall nutrition
  • You have a consistent bedtime and wake up time but still use your snooze button each morning and drink caffeine after 2pm to stay awake on most days
  • You seek help when needed with stressful issues such as using Money Saving Expert for financial topics
  • You avoid people and/or scenarios that exhaust you unnecessarily and are good at saying no when you are busy
  • You often binge watch TV, eat big meals, have serious conversations and/or do work just before bed and use your phone in bed
  • You would regularly use some of the following as stress recovery strategies:
    • Alcohol and drugs
    • Social media
    • Smoking

 

What you do less of:

  • Your bedroom is rarely a quiet, cool, dark, tidy envoronment for sleeping
  • If you can’t sleep you just lie there instead of getting up
  • You find it difficult to be aware of when you should take a break to optimise your mental workload
  • You very rarely plan your day
  • You rarely prioritise your to-do list and instead like to just get on with things which makes you less effective.
  • You rarely prioritise your self-care time
  • You would rarely use any of the following as stress recovery strategies:
    • Walking
    • Get out in nature
    • Connect with others
    • Exercise
    • Write in a journal
    • Have a hot bath
    • Reading
    • Music
    • Humour
    • Deep breathing
    • Naps

 

With some small improvements in your activity levels, nutrition and recovery you can massively reduce your risk of premature death from cancer, heart disease and stroke.

You are also more likely to be less overweight and experience healthy ageing, with better sleep and stress than level 0.

This will leave you with a better life curve than Level 0 but you still have a huge potential for improvement to improve the quality and longevity of your life further.

Click below to learn how you can move to Level 2.

MOVE TO LEVEL 2

FIND OUT YOUR HEALTH LEVEL IN SECONDS!

It’s a free and quick easy-to-use tool to find out your health level and why exercise is important.

TAKE THE TEST
Health level 2

Benefits:

Risk of disease:

  • Reduced lifetime risk of cancers by upto 14%, heart disease by upto 33% and stroke by upto 45%
  • Your immune system function witll be much better and able to fight off and recover from viruses like COVID-19 more easily.
  • You may be able to reduce some medications.

 

How you look:

  • You’re likely to still be slightly overweight but very close to a healthy Body Mass Index and Waist to Hip Ratio.
  • You’re likely to have reduced wrinkles and hanging eyelids
  • You’ll look more attractivene than Level 1 and more likely to look your age due to the better sleep, nutrition and exercise you get.

 

How you feel:

  • You’ll feel energised for 2/3 of your day but tired for 1/3 as overall sleep quality is fairly good
  • Much less stress than Level 1 as some form of self-care ‘me-time’ is taken each day.
  • Sleep is farily good as it takes a short time to get to sleep and total sleep time is normally around 6-7 hours each night.

 

What you can do:

  • Going up stairs and activities of everyday life are relatively easy.

 

Trade Offs:

How you feel:

  • Activity will make you slightly breathless but not uncomfortably so.

 

Investment of time and effort:

  • Requires more thought and planning to achieve activity levels
  • Requires going out of your comfort zone to try new activities
  • May require minor social sacrifices e.g. being active with friends instead of going out for food and drinks. Sacrificing TV for your sleep.

 

What you do more of:

  • Walking 7500-9999 steps a day, mostly outdoors
  • You do purposeful exercise and progressive resistance training 2 days a week
  • Eating fruit and vegetables with 4-5 portions a day
  • Most of the time you make sure your bedroom is quiet, cool, dark and tidy for sleeping.
  • Most of the time you understand when you need to take a break from work to get the best from your mental workoad.
  • You often plan your day and prioritise your to-do list.
  • You often prioritise and protect your self-care time
  • You often use any of the following as stress recovery strategies:
    • Walking
    • Get out in nature
    • Connect with others
    • Exercise
    • Write in a journal
    • Have a hot bath
    • Reading
    • Music
    • Humour
    • Deep breathing
    • Naps

 

What you do less of:

  • You ensure eating treats makes up just 30% of your overall nutrition
  • You rarely drink caffeine after 2pm and rarely use your snooze button
  • You rarely binge watch TV, have serious discussions, do work and/or eat big meals before bed
  • You rarely use your phone in bed
  • You rarely use any of the following as stress recovery strategies:
    • Alcohol and drugs
    • Social media
    • Smoking

 

With some good health habits your risk of premature death from cancer, heart disease and stroke are even lower than Level 1.

You are also less likely to be overweight, look younger and feel younger when compared with level 1.

This will leave you with a better life curve than Level 1 but still not quite hitting all the minimum recommended guidelines from the World Health Organisation for living a long and healthy life.

Click below to learn how you can move up to Level 3.

MOVE UP TO LEVEL 3

FIND OUT YOUR HEALTH LEVEL IN SECONDS!

It’s a free and quick easy-to-use tool to find out your health level and why exercise is important.

TAKE THE TEST
healthy ageing level 3 graph

Benefits:

Risk of disease:

  • Reduced lifetime risk of cancers by upto 21%, heart disease by upto 50% and stroke by upto 68%
  • Prevent the effects of sarcopenia (muscle loss) ensuring you can live independently for longer.
  • Less risk of dieing prematurely, needing care or getting injured
  • Very good immune system, and you may be able to eliminate medications and illnesses such as type 2 diabetes

 

How you look:

  • You’ll look lean and fit
  • You’re more likely to look younger than you are

 

How you feel:

  • You’ll wake up feeling refreshed each morning
  • You’ll have higher energy and better overall health than Level 2
  • You’ll experience very food cravings due to a balanced diet
  • You rarely feel stressed as a lot of self-care “me-time” is taken each day
  • Sleep is very good as it take you minutes to get to sleep and total sleep time is at least 7-8 hours.

 

What you can do:

  • You actually enjoy exercise and miss it when life gets in the way, this reinforces your desire to prioritise your self-care time.
  • You’ll find it much easier to lose weight if and when needed
  • Your overall physical and mental performance will be very good and you embrace any challenges you are faced with.
  • You’ll find these habits relatively easy to maintain once you’ve acheived them for 12 weeks and won’t look back.
  • You’re much less likely to need a carer when you’re older
  • You know how many calories you need each day based on your activity levels and goal and understand how to use this is an easy, consistent way.

 

Trade Offs:

Investment of time and effort:

  • You will spend more time planning and may require minor social sacrifices e.g. being active with friends instead of a bar.
  • You’ll need to find an activity that allows you to practice progressive resistance training.
  • You’ll need to be more mindful of the content of foods and more minful of your sleep routine and sleep hygiene.
  • May require some coaching to help you get you started

 

What you do more of:

  • Walking more than 10000 steps a day, a lot of it outside.
  • Purposeful exercise and progressive resistance training more than 2 days a week
  • You consistently eat more than 5 different portions of fruit and vegetables each day
  • You get up out of bed when you can’t sleep to break the bed-sleepless association.
  • You only go to bed when sleepy so you fall alseep straight away.
  • You always ensure that your bedroom is quiet, cool, dark and tidy for sleeping
  • On the rare occassions you can’t sleep you get up out of bed and know what to do to get back to sleep.
  • You are very good at knowing when to take breaks to get the most from your mental workload.
  • You plan your day and prioritise your to-do list every day to maximise your time use most effectively.
  • You are very good at learning to say no to avoid unnecessary stress
  • You always know where to go to ask for help with stressful issues such as work, relationships and finances
  • You outsource stress when you can
  • You use goal setting and reflecting every 90 days
  • You prioritise your self-care time every day
  • You use any of the following as stress recovery strategies every day:
    • Walking
    • Get out in nature
    • Connect with others
    • Exercise
    • Write in a journal
    • Have a hot bath

 

What you do less of:

  • You eat less treats each day so they make up just 20% of your overall nutrition
  • You never drink caffeine after 2pm or use your snooze button as you wake up naturally at the right time.
  • You never binge watch TV, eat big meals, do work or have serious discussions before bed
  • You never use your phone in bed.
  • You never use any of the following as stress recovery strategies but you may use them simply for pleasure:
    • Alcohol and drugs
    • Social media
    • Smoking
    • Emotional eating
    • Hours of TV
    • Denial

 

If you’re at Level 3 then a massive well done because you are very much in the minority.

Acheiving this Level requires a significant investment of time and effort but it’s safe to say that the rewards are worth every minute and sweat of effort.

You wasn’t built in a day and neither is this Level. It takes consistency and effort.

If you’d like to learn about how to exceed Level 3 then follow the link below.

LEVEL UP

It’s Never Too Late To Start Investing

Ultimately, the more you put into your health pension, the better your life curve will be, and the better your quality of life will be.

 

If you’re not very active right now, the good news is that you get the best returns for your efforts when you first start out. And remember, it doesn’t matter how old you are, you can massively improve your health if you start now. To prove our point, here’s one of our stroke survivors, Andrew, talking about his improvements since his stroke.

Andrew went on to complete a half marathon. So if he can make these improvements after having a stroke, then just imagine how much YOU can improve! Here’s an outline of the different curves YOUR life can take depending on YOUR health habits:   Ultimately YOUR quality of life will be better and more fulfilling with healthier habits and we would love to help with Personal Training in Edinburgh.

The key to thriving in your retirement is investing in your health now. It’s never too late to start improving the quality of life you will have throughout retirement. Call us today at 0131 210 0002  for a free 30-minute consultation and we’ll show you how our Personal Training services can help you live your best life!

LEARN MORE

FIND OUT YOUR HEALTH LEVEL IN SECONDS!

It’s a free and quick easy-to-use tool to find out your health level and why exercise is important.

TAKE THE TEST