Just by virtue of the fact that they are out there ‘living the dream’, most grey nomads are pretty active people and tend to be in relatively good health.
But for all the bushwalks and the fishing adventures, there are the less-than-strenuous Happy Hour temptations and the long, long hours in the driver seat or passenger seat.
So, how does an adventurous older traveller make sure he or she stays in ‘good nick’ to ensure they can keep on enjoying the joys of the open road for many years to come?
The first thing is to acknowledge that it is important to keep moving. Many travellers try to at least have a bit of a regular walk or a cycle, and some take it to the next level.
Long-term traveller Helen S says she take some hand weights, a suspension trainer, yoga mat and stretch bands on the road so she can try to continue her normal exercise routines as much as possible.
“We want to feel confident that we can handle the intensity of a long hike and have the ability to climb those hills for the fabulous views for as long as we can,” she said. “Often it’s not easy to do a proper workout while on the move but even simple things like squats and push-ups on those days are easy to fit in … getting that fresh air into your lungs feels so good!”
The Government advises that the amount of physical activity older adults need to do to keep healthy depends on their age and level of fitness … but it recommends both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activity.
Assuming someone is generally fit and with no health conditions that limit mobility, they should try to be active daily. It is recommended that adults aged 65 or older do at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most, preferably all, days.
They should aim to be active in as many ways as possible, and do a range of physical activities that incorporate fitness, strength, balance and flexibility.
Moderate-intensity aerobic activity means you’re working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat. Examples might include walking fast, ballroom dancing, riding a bike, or canoeing. Activities like shopping or cooking don’t count as moderate-intensity activity because the effort required isn’t hard enough to increase your heart rate.
Nonetheless, the Government advises that some activity, however light, is better for your health than none at all. So that means being aware of the amount of time you spend sitting in your campchair watching TV, reading or listening to music.
Muscle-strengthening exercises are also recommended. These might include something as simple as carrying or moving heavy loads such as groceries, dancing, digging, shovelling, lifting weights, yoga, or doing exercises that use your body weight for resistance such as push-ups or sit-ups.
Importantly, the advice is that you should make a time to do specific strength exercises two or three times a week, and build some of them into your everyday activities.
· Do you set aside a time for ‘exercising’, or does the Big Lap keep you naturally fit and well? Are you fitter now than when you left home? Email us here to share your thoughts.