Dr Tamara Hunter on keeping fit and healthy over 40

Tamara HunterChannel 9

Being healthy over 40, exercising and keeping fit, can become more than a challenge as we get older. In this video, Dr Hunter explains why it is important to stay fit and healthy over 40, where to start if you haven’t exercised before, health risks to be aware of and exercising for menopausal women.

As excess weight can be a leading cause of some cancers and also increase heart disease the necessity to maintain exercise and stay active well past your 40s is obvious. Dr Hunter states that “there was really good evidence to show that overweight and obesity can increase most disease processes. Such as many cancers, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, gallstones, respiratory disorders – the list goes on. So weight management is really important and we can do that through a balance of energy (which is good dietary choices) and also energy out (which is exercise and physical activity).

As we get older many of our systems are prone to stress, which can be amplified through exercise. Therefore, first-time exercisers, need to be aware of potential risks. Dr Hunter discusses that “our cardiovascular system, our joints, our muscles even our coordination and our balance can be challenged so it is really important, particularly if you’ve never exercised before, or if you’re overweight and with chronic conditions, to sit down with your medical practitioner and have chat to go through all those important risk factors.”

There are health risks in general that people over 40 need to be aware of before undertaking an exercise regime. “Although we know that exercise is really good for us there are many systems that can get stressed, so a heart health check is really important over the age of 40. That’s not just for someone who’s never exercised but also for people who regularly exercise should get a heart health check. Things like a Cardiovascular exam, respiratory, blood pressure and discussion and discussion about family history, even smoking statuses is really important”, according to Dr Hunter.

With menopausal women going through many changes, it is important to note that exercise routines will differ for them. Dr Hunter states that “post-menopause the two main areas to focus on is bone health and cardiovascular health. Bone health is that weight-bearing activity – walking, running or resistance activity. Cardiovascular health is that huff and puff type of activity. So really for an older woman, a combination exercise is really good”.

The main thing that Tamara states with regards being healthy over 40 is that “with less than 10% of older age people doing anything at all, just choose the thing that you’re going to enjoy. You’re more likely to do it.”