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Healthy Aging Through Exercise - It is never too late!

Studies Show Inactivity Increases With Age

Healthy Aging According to Dr Marisa Wan, MD, Department of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Aging is linked to hardening of the arteries and a decrease in ventricular compliance. (1) Lack of regular exercise is also associated with sarcopenia, metabolic syndrome, obesity, insulin resistance, pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, coronary heart disease, peripheral artery disease, hypertension, stroke, congestive heart failure, endothelial dysfunction, arterial dyslipidemia, hemostasis, deep vein thrombosis, cognitive dysfunction, depression and anxiety, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, balance, bone fracture/falls, rheumatoid arthritis, colon cancer, breast cancer, endometrial cancer, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, polycystic ovary syndrome, erectile dysfunction, pain, diverticulitis, constipation, and gallbladder diseases. (2)

Studies conducted in 2014 on the amount of exercise adults performed showed inactivity increases with age. The study showed that 25% of those between the ages of 50-64 are inactive, 27% of those between the ages of 64-74 are inactive, and that jumps dramatically in people over the age of 75 where a least 35% are inactive.

However, we all know cardiovascular and resistance training can reduce risk factors and increase heart health which contributes to healthy aging. Exercise also helps to improve core stability which in turn reduces the risk of falls. Aerobic activity increases blood flow to the brain which improves cognitive function. Although their abilities could be limited in fragile, elderly clients, movement with modifications will help to make them more functional for daily activities. This will contribute to maintaining independence and mobility of seniors.

Be Active for Healthy Aging

It is never too late to become active and earn healthy aging! People over the age of 50 should be aiming for a minimum of 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercises, such as brisk walking or light jogging. Resistance training should be done 2-3 days a week at an intensity of 50 – 60 % for 15 to 30 minutes to start depending on the level of current fitness. Increase time to 30 to 40 minutes depending on ability and health conditions.

Just remember that any physical activity is better than no activity and given time it will provide health benefits and improve quality of life.  Do whatever you can manage initially based on your ability and your doctor’s advice. Ensure you hire a qualified, elite personal trainer to develop and modify an appropriate exercise prescription along with your physician and other health professionals. Healthy aging can be yours with an exercise program.

1)  www.canadiangeriatrics.ca/default/index.cfm/journals/canadian-geriatrics-society-journal-of-cme/cme-journal-vol-4-issue-1-2014/benefits-of-exercise-in-the-elderly/

2) www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4241367/

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