Read time: 6 min.
Issue 12 * 17 February 2024

Maximising Health and Resilience: The Guide to Integrated Exercise

Goldster’s experts, Professor Sir Muir Gray, Tim Harris and Jude Hirschheimer share wisdom on why using different types of exercise is beneficial.

Bethan Cole

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A Goldster Guide

Professor Sir Muir Gray is talking about the four or five ‘S’ words concerning exercise. “There is ‘Strength’, which is muscles and bone because it will also increase bone strength, there is ‘Suppleness’ which is soft tissue, there is ‘Stamina’ which is cardio and lungs and there is ’Skill’ which is the brain and nervous system. You should also add onto that ‘Psychological’ benefit too.”

Professor Sir Muir says that different exercises will have different ‘S’ benefits. “But all physical activity has a psychological benefit – cognitive and emotional. You want to exercise to stimulate different parts of the body.”

Fighting Ageing with Exercise

As we age, he says, our resilience reduces “every year a little bit more, every diagnosis a little bit more,” so we should be looking to increase our resilience when we do exercise. In addition to that, when disease comes along, people do less. So we need to compensate for these things when we exercise and try to do more and do more to increase our resilience.

Varied Fitness Essentials

Tim Harris, Goldster fitness trainer agrees. “There’s never just one type of way to keep a body healthy,” he states, “You need different aspects to tie it all together. In terms of overall physical health, there are the following categories:

1. Cardiovascular health – (Stamina ‘S’) brisk walks, jogging, cycling, swimming, things that are healthy for the heart.

2. Muscle Strength and resistance training (Strength ‘S’). “Everyone needs to be strong,” comments Tim, “and it even affects the way you digest things and weight loss is more controllable with healthy muscles.”

3. Flexibility through stretching (Suppleness ‘S’). “This is where you test muscle elasticity with Yoga and Pilates” says Tim.

4. Balance – Tai Chi and Yoga. (Skill ‘S’) “Anything that makes your mind focus on a certain limb or a certain path. The mind speaks to muscle – it’s mind and motor skills,” he continues.

Mental Perks of Varied Exercise

What’s more, according to Tim doing different types of exercise is crucial for cognitive function, keeping the brain active and talking to the body; which can reduce the risk of dementia. “Testing what your body can do on a day-to-day basis, keeping your mind and body on the ball, can prevent cognitive decline and dementia.” Doing different types of exercise improves memory and general alertness, and improves emotional wellbeing with the release of endorphins and also group classes - whether online or in person - are good for social engagement.

Kickstarting Your Exercise Regimen

Jude’s top advice for anyone who wants to make the most of the Goldster learning experience and integrated exercise is as follows: “Start slowly, even if it means watching classes initially, get a feel for them and see which classes resonate with you. Try a class, it doesn’t have to be the whole class, see how it feels when you’re doing it. Schedule it into your week and write down the times of the classes that you’d like to do, in a paper diary or on your phone, making that commitment to yourself each week will help to create that long-term, healthy habit.”

Amen to that – now all you have to do is to get started!