Reasons to Workout in Older Age

We can’t all be Mr. Universe and many of you may not be training to be Mr. or Mrs. body beautiful, in fact a lot of people will be training to increase their personal health or to keep their mobility as the get older.

Recent studies have shown that there are valid reasons why everybody and especially persons of a certain age may want to consider doing some physical activity.

physical activity in older age

Depression

In the largest study of its kind researchers at Yale University and Oxford looked at the fitness regimes of 1.2 million people and compared them with how often they felt depressed or stressed.

Researchers discovered that more exercise was not always better, with 45 minutes three to five times a week found to have the biggest benefits.

Commenting on the study, which was published in The Lancet Psychiatry, Prof Stephen Lawrie, Head of Psychiatry at the University of Edinburgh, said: “I would summarise the results as indicating that activity, is good for mental health – but that one can do too much. Every second day for 45-60 mins might be optimal.  

The research also shows what many fitness professionals have known for a longtime and that is that not only working out in the gym is physical activity it can also be walking the dog, mowing the lawn, or doing housework.

“The good news is that lots of different types of physical activity appear to be associated with better mental health. Thus, the key message from this paper and the wider literature is that people should find a physical activity they enjoy and try and do it regularly but just getting started is key.” Dr Brendon Stubbs, NIHR Clinical Lecturer, King's College London’s Institute of Psychiatry.

A couple of smaller studies of note;

Cognitive Performance

Joyce Gomes-Osman, PT, PhD, of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine carried out a systematic appraisal of randomised controlled trials proposing exercise to influence cognition in older adults.

The clinical trials assessed exercises that included walking, biking, dancing, strength training, tai chi, and yoga over spans from 4 weeks to 1 year. Most participants (58.2%) did not exercise regularly before enrolling in a study. Most studies used either high (37.8%) or medium intensity (36.7%) exercise.

The finding showed that exercising for at least 52 hours is associated with improved cognitive performance in older adults with and without cognitive impairment.

Cardiac Health

A study published in The Journal of Physiology, the scientists assessed the stiffness and relative age of the major cardiac arteries in about 100 adults, most of them in their 70s and who, had provided regular reports about their exercise habits for at least two decades.

The researchers grouped them into the four categories, based on how frequently they exercised. 

The scientists noted considerable differences in cardiac health, depending on how often the men and women had been physically active during adulthood. In general, the cardiac arteries of both the sedentary people and the casual exercisers, who worked out two or three times a week, were stiffer than in younger people.

Among long-term committed exercisers and masters’ athletes, the researchers found, major cardiac arteries were relatively flexible and, in functional terms, youthful and healthy, compared to the vessels in the other groups.

So seems like the conclusion here is start now but if you are starting late in life it wont hurt you and do 3-4 sessions per week for 30-45 mins.

 


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