Ageing? Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid of it

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Amelia Phillips

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Someone was really correct when they said, you are never too old or too busy to start exercising. Growing old is as certain as having to pay taxes, but if we plan for the future, growing old doesn’t need to hurt as much as paying.

Research is now showing that at the age of 40 is in fact not too old to start intensive exercise. While Dr Matelot, who ran a study out of the French Institute of Health and Medical Research, says that physical activity can’t stop ‘age-related declines in heart structure and function’ it can slow it down.

The study he did:

  • 40 healthy men, 55-70 years old;
  • No heart disease risk factors;
  • Those that began their ‘relatively intensive’ endurance exercise before age of 30 had been doing it for an average of 39 years. Those that started after 40 had been doing it for an average of 18 years.

What the study showed:

  • Resting heart rates were similar among men in both exercise groups but much higher among men who didn’t exercise;
  • The men in the two exercise groups also had much higher maximum oxygen uptake than those who didn’t exercise;
  • Men in both groups showed similar evidence of exercise-related improvements in heart structure and function.

So, the brilliant news is starting at the age of 40 does not seem to “impair the cardiac benefits” as per the latest research. That even at the age of 40 the heart seems “amenable” to modification by endurance training. If you are over 40 including weights in your weekly activities are recommended the benefits of improving bone density and muscle mass  – strength you will need in older age.

Looking at more senior people, it’s estimated that a majority of those over 65 are inactive (sad face!). Alarmingly the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that those over 75 years of age only spend 20 minutes a day moving. It’s no wonder that many older Australians are living with conditions such as osteoporosis and arthritis.

Just on our seniors, a new US study had down that even moderate daily exercise could maintain an ageing adults ability to walk by 18% and to maintain their mobility by 25%.

With those types of stats we need to get the message out even more so of how important it is to start exercising…whatever the age may be.

Types of Exercises To Do

We are not suggesting intense exercise here but certainly walking, gardening some form of resistance and strength work (like light resistance bands) or a round of golf, even. Further according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, those over 65 years of age (that have no limiting health conditions) should do muscle-strengthening activities that work all major muscles groups at least two days per week. There are several gyms and personal health centers that conduct yoga and pilates for over 50-60 year olds; I can’t think of a better moderate strength training exercise than that.

Exercise & Sports Science Australia also recommend some form of stretching every day just so you can reduce the amount of time spent sitting. Here are some other great exercises they recommend:

  • Stand up and sit down on a chair for strength and balance.
  • Shoulder roles for flexibility.
  • Half squats to improve leg strength.
  • Side leg raises to improve strength and balance.
  • Knee lifts for strength.

 Do you think age has anything to do with how fit you are? Or is age is just a number?

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  • Terry Kelly

    Amelia, well done – this article reveals the secret to aging well – maximal oxygen uptake – yet few people realise this. Here’s a link that shows how oxygen uptake declines with age and the impact that has on fitness http://www.ntnu.edu/cerg/fitness-numbers . Some time ago you posted an excellent review of our nutritional oxygen product, GO2, which provides a great edge for athletes. However for mature age people of any fitness level, the benefits of better oxygenation take on a much greater ‘quality of life’ significance. For anyone who would like to discover the GO2 difference, we have a 20% off special running till the end of July, use discount code 0714 at http://www.go2life.com.au . Best regards, Terry