The Importance of Exercising As We Get Older

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Being in the fitness industry, I hear all type of questions. However, one stood out to me and I feel I need to address this sooner rather than later.

The question was, “Why is it important to perform resistance training as we age?”

This is a great question, because there are multiple benefits that come along with exercise as we age. In fact, it is very powerful in reducing the signs and symptoms of numerous diseases and chronic conditions. Below are some examples:

• Arthritis - Tufts University recently completed a strength-training program with older men and women with moderate to severe knee osteoarthritis. The results of this sixteen-week program showed that strength training decreased pain by 43%, increased muscle strength and general physical performance, improved the clinical signs and symptoms of the disease, and decreased disability. The effectiveness of strength training to ease the pain of osteoarthritis was just as potent, if not more potent, as medications. Similar effects of strength training have been seen in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

• Diabetes

• Osteoporosis

• Back Pain

• Depression

• Strengthening of Bone - Post-menopausal women can lose 1-2% of their bone mass annually. Results from a study conducted at Tufts University, which were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1994, showed that strength training increases bone density and reduces the risk for fractures among women aged 50-70.

• Restoration of Balance and Reduction of Fall

• Proper Weight Management

• Improved Glucose Control- More than 14 million Americans have type II diabetes—a staggering three-hundred percent increase over the past forty years—and the numbers are steadily climbing. In addition to being at greater risk for heart and renal disease, diabetes is also the leading cause of blindness in older adults. Fortunately, studies now show that lifestyle changes such as strength training have a profound impact on helping older adults manage their diabetes. In a recent study of Hispanic men and women, 16 weeks of strength training produced dramatic improvements in glucose control that are comparable to taking diabetes medication. Additionally, the study volunteers were stronger, gained muscle, lost body fat, had less depression, and felt much more self-confident.

• Improved Sleep

• Health Heart Tissue

As you can see, it is vitally important to take control of your fitness levels. The sooner one can start on this; the faster one can get into shape. Remember, it is never too late to start, but why wait, when you can get started today.

Source: International Sports Sciences Association Fitness Journal

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