Your only as old as you believe yourself to be. Age is only a number. We’ve heard these sayings before and have even used them conveniently. Your view on aging will determine how you age. A positive outlook on remaining active and healthy will help you BE active and healthy. Accordingly, a negative outlook on aging will help you age poorly. Regardless of your thoughts on exercise, it will help you remain healthy and young!
Researchers at the University of Birmingham (London) recently published a study showing the effects of seniors that have been exercising compared to those that did not.(1) They found that those regular exercises were able to defy the effects of aging.
Quantity vs Quality
We will all age, there is no denying that. How you age is more important, more so the quality. The researchers said, “Our research means we now have strong evidence that encouraging people to commit to regular exercise throughout their lives is a viable solution to the problem that we are living longer but not healthier.” A proper exercise program will help to increase a person’s functional ability to complete activities of daily livings (ADLs).
Exercise can have the following quality of life benefits:
- Increased cardiovascular fitness – There are a few benefits that fall in this category such as: increased VO2 max (the body’s utilization of exercise), improved blood pressure response to physical activity, lower heart rate for a submaximal workload, reductions in arterial stiffness and increased stroke volume (the amount of blood pumped out of the heart).(2)
- Weight maintenance – Being obese can lend to a host of comorbidities, diabetes being one of them. Type 2, non-insulin-dependent, diabetes mellitus rates has increased considerably in the older adult population over the past decade and with regular exercise, there is an increase in insulin sensitivity and glycemic control.(2)
- Increased muscle strength – Everyone wants to be stronger. It makes getting out of chairs easier, lifting up your grand kids, but did you know that it plays an even bigger role? Muscle strength is closely correlated with bone mass which indicates its importance in maintaining and developing bone mass density.(2)
- Improved neuro-muscular performance – Resistance training increases muscle mass, strength and power. All of these help with delaying or preventing sarcopenia, the loss of muscle mass which is associated with disability, and a person’s ability to coordinate physical movements to complete a task. Tasks such as putting on a shirt, tying your shoes, walking your dog, etc.(2)
- Improved cognition and psychological well being – Habitual physical activity is linked to a reduced risk of cognitive decline.(2)
What’s your next step?
Your next step is to get moving! “We hope these findings prevent the danger that, as a society, we accept that old age and disease are normal bedfellows and that the third age of man is something to be endured and not enjoyed,” the researchers stated. If your unsure of where to get started, then you can check out some of the following resources!
- University of Birmingham. (2018, March 8). A lifetime of regular exercise slows down aging, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 23, 2018 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/03/180308143123.htm
- (2014). Functional Aging Institute. Module 2: Applied Physiology of Aging.