Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Exercise 70s-90s

I’m reading this in a magazine, but it is also on-line.

In Your 70s: Make Haste Slowly

“Slow and steady wins the race,” says Anderson. There’s no reason you can’t continue to strength train, do cardio, stretch, hike, and even pursue higher-impact activities — as long as you take your time, monitor your response, and adjust accordingly.

“Chronological age is not a good indicator of biological age,” says Balachandran. “Some people who are in their 80s are as agile and vibrant as some in their 60s.” It’s not clear why, he notes. “But I think physical activity could be one overlooked factor.” The body deteriorates with time, yet how quickly and drastically those changes come may be largely up to you.

If you haven’t strength trained regularly, muscle loss may now reach critical levels, interfering with balance, gait, and other daily activities. But if you take up strength training, those changes are reversible: A number of studies including adults in their 70s have found that progressive strength training two or three times per week can lead to such improvements as increased muscle mass, more ease with everyday activities like climbing stairs and carrying groceries, and reduced joint pain. [I started strength training about 5 months ago, and this is my experience—better balance and stronger hands.]

You may need to do a longer warm-up and to rest more between sets by the time you reach 70, says Friday. “My older clients come in early to stretch, and they have to rest longer between sets. But they often finish their workouts stronger than my younger clients.”

Fit septuagenarians may even need to be held back: “Strength training is super empowering,” she says. “And people get excited when they see and feel the results. I have older clients doing multiple timed sets of kettlebell swings. One older client biked 2,700 miles in 50 days. It takes a little longer, but they can reach really impressive levels of fitness.”

Anderson concurs: “My over-70 clients do everything — high-intensity intervals, kickboxing, strength training.”

If this sounds overwhelming, Balachandran recommends recruiting a pro who can help you develop appropriate workout strategies: “Once you learn the basics, you can do it on your own,” he says. “The price you pay is negligible compared with the benefits.”

In Your 80s, 90s, and Beyond: Evolve

By this point, nearly everyone has aches and physical limitations from previous injuries or illnesses, arthritis, periods of sedentary living, or chronic overuse. You might be tempted to believe you’re too old to work out — and that rest is best.

But too much rest may do more harm than good. Once prescribed almost universally for back pain, illness, and discomfort of all kinds, bed rest has been shown in studies to be associated with loss of strength and endurance, changes in soft tissue, bone loss, joint disease, high blood pressure, and weakening of the cardiovascular system. It’s one reason falls are a danger for people over 80: The resulting injuries may heal, but the health complications from staying in bed for weeks can be irreversible.

Falls are a leading cause of death among people over 65 and contribute to more than 40 percent of all nursing-home admissions. So rest when you’re sick or injured — but get up and move as much as you’re able, as soon as you’re able.

The best way to avoid falling may be regular workouts. A 2016 study showed that exercise can reduce fall frequency by nearly 40 percent.

But fall prevention is just one benefit that physical activity confers upon adults over 80. In one study, a few weeks of weight training doubled the strength of 85-year-old men and women, with some seeing a reduced need for walkers and wheelchairs.

Exercise also reduces the likelihood of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s. You may not respond the way you did when you were 19, but both your body and mind still derive considerable benefits from exercise — right up to and including your 10th decade.

The key to exercising safely and effectively now is the same as it was in your 20s: Find an enjoyable activity that challenges you without risking injury. Reducing impact or range of motion — by substituting cycling and swimming for jumping and running, or machine-based movements for free weights, for example — may be ideal.

Remember that your muscles, joints, bones, and entire body remain adaptable. And if you exercise consistently, what may have seemed impossible months or even years before can become possible — even easy and enjoyable.

Time marches on, and while we’re a long way from being able to stop the aging process, says Friel, “we can slow it down.”

This originally appeared as “Your Fit Life” in the June 2018 print issue of Experience Life.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Motion is lotion, Cheryl Hall.