I have heard many of my clients say, “If I knew I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself! Some of us do our best, but are so unsure of what to do or where to start. Exercise is one of the keys for quality of life, and it is never too late to start. A program that includes both resistance training and cardiovascular activity can make a huge impact on your health.
- Exercise can improve your mood! It has been documented, in younger adults, that exercise can alleviate
symptoms of depression and even compete with the effects of antidepressant medication. It is fair to say is
that exercise has a mood-elevating effect in most adults as well, whatever their age. It may not be the cure
for depression, but talk to most anyone who exercises, no matter what their age, and they will report a “feel-
good” phenomenon after exercise.
- One of the most exciting areas of exercise research is the investigation of cognitive function. What
scientists have learned so far is that brain neurons increase in great numbers after just a few days or weeks
of regular activity. In a study where researchers used an MRI to measure the amount of brain tissue in
adults they found that the fittest individuals had the most brain tissue. This is great news for those 55 years
of age and older since they have more difficulty in tasks like coordination, scheduling, planning, and memory
- Muscle mass decreases as we age. If you are over 40 you may have already noticed a difference in your
muscle mass. Adults lose 3%-5% of muscle mass per decade (Medicinenet.com). Muscle keeps us strong,
burns calories and helps us maintain our weight. The good news is that muscle mass can increase at any
age in response to exercise.
- Balance decreases as we age, consequently, falling is a major problem. According to the U.S. Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one of every three Americans over the age of 65 falls each year,
accounting for 87% of all fractures. The good news is that muscle strengthening and balance exercises can
reduce the risk of falling by as much as 45%.
- Bones tend to decrease in density as we age, and for some individuals, it can lead to osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is a disease of low bone density and can lead to an increased risk of fracture. According to
the National Osteoporosis Foundation, osteoporosis and low bone mass is responsible for more than 1.5
million fractures annually. Research shows that exercise can increase bone density in the hip and spine with
the precise amount of weight lifting. Weight lifting causes stress on the bones as the muscles contract
which causes the bones to thicken and stimulates them to grow.
Because we do not know exactly how long we are going to live, it would be a good idea to take care of
ourselves the best way we can. As I mentioned, it is never too late to start!