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Can Exercise Keep the Elderly Young?

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July 22, 2014

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Avanti

Staying Young

Physical exercise is a great way to stay young. Everyone knows exercise has numerous benefits for the body and brain. As humans we’re meant to move, and when we do with regularity and intensity we simply feel better.  Furthermore, as any elderly person can attest, exercise becomes increasingly difficult as the body ages, particularly if an exercise regimen was not established early on. But, can exercise keep the elderly feeling young?

Studies Point to a Promising “Yes”
Numerous studies indicate exercise keeps the negative effects of aging at bay. Take the 2010 experiment by Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky, pediatrics professor at McMaster University in Ontario. The mice test subjects that exercised kept their coats from graying and more importantly remained alive after one year; their counterparts, the non-active mice, grayed and each died by the one year mark.

Not convinced?
The study by Dr. Stephan Gielen, the deputy cardiology director at the German university Halle/Wittenberg, is just one of countless other studies that prove exercised-derived benefits for seniors. The group, which participated in only a four-week exercise regimen of stationary cycling, experienced less muscle breakdown when compared to the group which simply underwent normal clinical care.

Exercise Programs Are Successful For Seniors
Just ask members of the seniors-only Silver Sneakers exercise program — available nationwide and usually covered by Medicare supplemental plans — and they’ll tell you that regular exercise keeps them feeling youthful. Of course the benefits must be earned via consistent effort, but once that hurdle is surpassed the biggest gain is increased mobility. As a result, seniors get to enjoy more of what they love most about life, whether it’s just being able to move about the house easily or enjoying more quality time with grandchildren. As for the aches and pains of old age, these can be significantly reduced as well, both inside and outside of the gym.

Don’t Forget Strength Training
In general the elderly tend to do more cardio than strength training, falling victim to the loss of both muscle mass and strength, otherwise known as sarcopenia. Regular strength or resistance training helps produce more of the enzyme which controls the degradation and strengthening of muscles. The heart is of course included in these benefits, demonstrating a reduction in inflammation following heart attacks.

 

Simply put, the benefits of exercise are not just for the young. By incorporating regular cardio and strength training into their lives, the elderly remain more mobile and feel more youthful. Best of all, these benefits are easy to gain with the strengthen and lengthen workouts offered by Avanti.

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