Old Age and Exercise – the Perfect Answer to Anti-Aging.
With all the advances in medical science and improved care over the past twenty or thirty years we are all living much longer lives than our forefathers.
But are our bodies in good enough shape to enjoy the extra years? In many cases no, but you can easily do something about it.
Unfortunately though, there is one thing that hasn’t changed over time.
If we don’t take care of ourselves as we age by exercising regularly then our body ceases up ( from resting and rusting), becomes weak and unable to support us into a ripe old age.
We end up gaining weight as we get older (especially after 50), contract joint pain problems including arthritis, bone density issues along with osteoporosis become a problem and numerous other lifestyle diseases start to take hold.
You might also like to read this helpful article about how to improve your bone density with natural methods which I came across on the startsat60 blog – it’s well worth a look for all you baby boomers out there.
One of the reasons for this is because of the Symptoms of Sarcopenia.
And I know a lot of people are going to ask, “What is Sarcopenia?” I have never heard of it!
That sounds bad.
Well it can be if you don’t do something about it and that is why it is starting to generate a lot of interest from the medical and scientific fraternity and has created a huge amount of interest in the benefits of exercise for older adults.
In short, Sarcopenia is the loss of muscle mass or wasting with aging and happens to virtually everyone but you can regain muscle mass after the age of 60.
It has recently come to light that the average person from age thirty through to your sixties will lose approximately 7 kilos of muscle so you can probably guess what I am about to say here…….and it is all about ongoing exercise, otherwise you could have some problems in your “golden years”.
The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) has this to say, “The road to a strong and healthy body starts with gaining good muscle mass which is easy to obtain with a few simple weight lifting and resistance training exercises on a regular basis.”
I think it’s a good enough reason for all of us to participate in some strength exercises for seniors.
One of the most important things that will contribute to a strong and healthy body is regular moderate exercise and eating good clean food. The benefits of exercising and doing some strength training well into your senior years will determine whether you enjoy quality of life as well as longevity. It really is that simple.
Muscle mass is what keeps us fit and strong and helps to burn calories that maintain a healthy weight.
From the age of twenty-five to fifty years old we lose about 10% of muscle mass. Then from fifty to eighty we lose another 40% so by the time we are eighty we have lost 50% of our muscle mass so you can see muscle deterioration can be the cause of many serious health problems in later life if we don’t do something about it.
Strong muscles give us bone strength and good balance and when we lose muscle mass it could result in the loss of our mobility, restriction in our movements and ultimately our independence in old age. Not something to look forward to, is it?
The good news is that even if you have always lived a sedentary lifestyle, or you have stopped exercising as you have become older, it is never too late to rebuild lost muscle mass, regain strength and discover the benefits of exercise for older adults.
Here is something I highly recommend you watch. It is inspirational proof that age has no boundaries when it comes to health and fitness. Meet Charles Eugster – he is 95 years young and is living proof that a healthy body is achievable at any age.
Charles told the Huffington Post he wants to change the world. “I want to make old age something wonderful, stupendous, fantastic, superb, interesting, exciting…I want to make old age the best part of one’s life.”
Just take a few minutes out of your day to watch this motivational TED Talk with Charles Eugster and I am sure you will agree with me, if we put our minds to it, we really can make old age the best part of our lives. We owe it to ourselves to do so.
Does Exercise Slow the Aging Process?
It sure does!
And here’s how to regain all that Lost Muscle Mass and Strength
The best exercise to build muscle mass is weight lifting and resistance exercises. Now this certainly doesn’t mean you have to push weights like a 25 year old bodybuilder and drink gallons of protein shakes. It is much easier than that to get some good results.
A recent study done with both males and females between the ages of 72 – 98 years who lifted weights three times per week over a period of ten weeks reported a muscle mass increase in their thighs of almost 3%. That’s a great result.
After 3 months this same group showed an amazing increase in vitality and endurance when they were able to increase their ability to walk longer, from 25 minutes to 35 minutes.
Regardless of your age, you will be able to increase your strength and endurance within days of starting a weight lifting and resistance program.
In addition to increasing muscle mass that will get you going again, an added bonus of weight training is that the brain participates by sending signals to the nervous system regarding which muscles will be needed for the movement you are about to perform. The more you exercise, the stronger this signal becomes, making your muscles stronger faster.
Another vital reason for seniors to exercise is to increase your endurance.
As we age our endurance starts to decrease which impairs our mobility and makes us more susceptible to disease (e.g. heart disease) which often leads to premature death. Lack of exercise in old age can also cause severe fatigue, muscle cramps and difficulty in breathing properly.
When you exercise well into your later years you will also greatly benefit from an increase in balance and flexibility. The older we get the more brittle our bones become and good balance will prevent serious injuries from falls associated with old age, which could rob you of your independence as well as your overall health.
The road to a strong and healthy body starts with gaining good muscle mass which is easy to obtain with a few simple weight lifting and resistance training exercises on a regular basis. Just thirty minutes a day and you are well on the way to a much healthier lifestyle.
Tony, another senior blogger like myself, has also recently discovered this muscle phenomenon which affects us all as we age. I am sure you will find his article “What is Sarcopenia?” well worth a few minutes of your time as Tony always has something interesting to say.
As always……help a friend…..like and share. Thanks.
Cheers – John – your Active Ageing Coach and Mentor.