It's pretty simple: One of the leading causes of aging is lack of movement. A sedentary lifestyle is bad news at any age, but the good news is that you can reap the benefits of exercise at any age as well. In fact, evidence suggests regular exercise can "set back the clock" 20 years or more.
There's a great deal of misinformation out there regarding exercise, best demonstrated through an amusing story I heard awhile back. A 75-year-old patient goes to the doctor and asks what they can do about their right knee pain and arthritis. The doctor says, "There's not much you can do. It's just a natural part of aging." The patient looks at the doctor and says, "But my other leg is just as old and it doesn't hurt!"
Although this gets a laugh out of my patients, it clearly demonstrates that age should not be an excuse. Let's take a look at some of the benefits of exercise and the key points you should remember when starting an exercise program. Take these tips to heart, regardless of your age or the physical condition you may be dealing with, and you'll be better equipped to improve your health.
A significant amount of research that is beginning to show that a lot of the aches, pains and health problems we get between the ages of 30 and 70 are not due to a natural process of aging, but due to our sedentary lifestyles. A novel study done through the space program found that one month of complete bed rest was equal to an amazing 30 years of aging! Although none of us spend 24 hours a day in bed, it just goes to show you that the less activity you do, the more you age.
Exercise can do more than just delay the process and lead to better strength and flexibility; it also can have a significant impact on our brains. In one study, older adults who exercised three times a week had a 38 percent lower chance of developing Alzheimer's. And recent research also evaluated whether an exercise program actually increased pain due to arthritis. Researchers found that a training program consisting of intense stationary bicycling and vigorous strength training did not appear to produce joint symptoms in older adults. Their conclusion was that if there is any joint pain, one should look at other causes other than exercise.
Whether you're in good health, rehabbing a recent injury or have arthritis, osteoporosis or other chronic condition, the following key points should be followed to ensure you get the most out of your workout. Remember to talk to your doctor first so the two of you can work together to design an exercise program that's right for you.