5 Reasons to Double-Down on Exercise (Especially If You're Over 40)

A gorgeous start to Summer 2022 - Sunset on the Caloosahatchee River in Fort Myers, Florida - June 21, 2022. Photo Courtesy of Charly Caldwell II.

I reviewed some discouraging statistics in an article from The American College of Sports Medicine.

Did you know that only 1 out of every 10 Americans over 50 exercises enough to gain any cardiovascular benefit?

For the past decade, research has estimated that about half of the physical decline associated with aging may be because of inactivity.

Furthermore, people over 65 in particular require adequate fitness levels to help maintain an independent lifestyle, recover from illness and reduce their risks of injury and disease.

It's also been well documented that it is never too late to get fit.

The human body responds to exercise, no matter what its age, and there are many health benefits.

Conversely, without regular exercise, people over 50 can experience a range of health problems including:

  • Decreased muscle mass, strength and physical endurance
  • Decreased coordination and balance.
  • Decreased joint flexibility and mobility.
  • Decreased cardiovascular and respiratory function.
  • Decreased bone strength.
  • Increased body fat levels and increased blood pressure.
  • Increased susceptibility to mood disorders, such as anxiety and depression.
  • Increased risk of diseases including cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of misinformation and myths about aging and exercise that deter many older people from exercising.

Some feel that older adults are frail and physically weak.

Others believe that the body doesn't need as much physical activity as it ages or that only vigorous, sustained exercise is valuable.

Now is the time to commit to being as healthy as possible — older adults who exercise regularly have the most to gain.

5 Reasons to Double-Down on Exercise (Especially If You're Over 40)

  • Muscle
    The amount and size of muscle fibers decreases with age. The average body loses around 1.5 pounds of lean muscle every decade from middle age on. These changes are related to a sedentary lifestyle, rather than age. Muscle mass can increase in the older person after regularly exercising for a short period of time and physical strength and contractile speed can improve.
  • Bone
    Density begins to decline after the age of 40, but this loss accelerates around the age of 50 years. As a result, older adults are more prone to fractures. Exercise helps reduce the risk of bone loss and osteoporosis.
  • Heart and lungs
    Studies show that cardio-respiratory fitness takes longer to achieve in an older person than a young one, but the benefits are similar.
  • Joints
    The joints of the body require regular movement to remain supple and healthy.
  • Body composition
    Carrying too much body fat has been associated with a range of diseases including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer. Regular exercise burns calories, increases muscle mass and speeds the metabolism. You can't afford not to exercise.

If you feel you need help, guidance or would like to talk, please contact me, and we'll work on a vision, strategy & plan for you!

Angie Ferguson is an exercise physiologist and Tony Robbins Results Coach from Fort Myers, Florida. She also is a Corrective Biomechanics Specialist, USA Triathlon Advanced Level 2 coach, USA Cycling coach, has a Specialty in Sports Nutrition certification, and a PhD in results!  




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