Do you sometimes wish you could go back in time and be younger again?
New research from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology shows that middle-aged people who exercise regularly can be as fit as a younger person.
“This study found evidence that a physically active 50-year-old can be as fit as a 20-year-old who doesn’t exercise,” says Natalie Lahnan, CPT, owner of Naples/Marco Island Adventure Boot Camp for Women. “In other words, when it comes to fitness level, biological age is not the determining factor.”
What can we learn from this research?
“Basically, the message here is that you are never ‘too old’ to exercise and to benefit from it,” Lahnan says. “In fact, various studies have shown that older adults who regularly work out not only improve their physical health and mental function, but also add several years to their life.”
Another reason why exercise is so important for mid-lifers and seniors is that it can help manage a variety of medical conditions that might already be present in this age group, such as high blood pressure or elevated cholesterol – both of which are risk factors for heart disease.
Unfortunately, more than 62 percent of adults in this country do not meet the exercise guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – at least 30 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week.
“Many people believe that physical fitness becomes more challenging as they get older, and that’s why they avoid exercise,” Lahnan notes. “In a way, it is a self-fulfilling prophecy: the less active they are, the higher their risk of developing medical conditions, or having accidents such as falling and sustaining a serious injury.”
Since there is now abundance of scientific proof that exercise can be very beneficial to people of all ages, Lahnan suggests that inactive boomers and seniors get into the habit of working out – starting out slowly and building up their routine as they become more adept.
She recommends including these four exercises for an effective, health-boosting workout:
Bouts of higher intensity exercise for cardiovascular health and endurance – how much “intensity” you can safely take will depend on your exercise history and fitness level – not your age.
Strength training: Muscle mass naturally diminishes as we get older, but resistance exercises will not only preserve it, but also increase bone density and lower the risk of osteoporosis.
Balance exercises will improve stability and coordination, helping prevent falls and injuries.
Flexibility workouts increase your mobility and improve your ability to move your joints through their full range of motion – especially important if you have arthritis.
“Remember: just because you are not 20 any more doesn’t mean you can’t be ‘young’ when it comes to fitness,” Lahnan says. “And exercise is the closest natural thing we have to the fountain of youth.”
Article Source: Naples Daily News