Exercise and Aging

Why do some individuals appear to age gracefully, while others are more likely to show and feel their years? Of course genetics play an important role but lifestyle factors  and chronic illness are also important considerations. 

The body’s physiological systems are inevitably affected by changes related to normal aging, but the extent to which deterioration occurs is, in part, related to the older adults physical activity level. Regular physical exercise can prevent, manage and even reverseĀ these harmful changes. Dr Barry Franklyn is a cardiac rehabilitation specialist who argues that the most important fitness components for health aging are muscular strength and endurance, aerobic endurance, flexibility and balance.

Strength training is particularly beneficial for older adults because of its role in increasing muscle mass, strengthening muscles and bones, improving balance, decreasing risk of falls and bone fractures and mitigating the discomfort associated with arthritis. Improvements in muscle strength can be achieved with modest investments in time. Resistance training twice a week using exercises that target major muscle groups can enhance older adults strength.

Regular aerobic training (such as brisk walking) can increase stamina, improve blood sugar control, assist with weight management, aid with blood pressure control and improve cholesterol profile. The American College of Sports Medicine that adults engage in 150 minutes of moderate physical activity (such as brisk walking) per week. This equates to 30 minutes per day. More importantly this 30 minutes can be accumulated throughout the day in bouts as short as 10 minutes.


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