by Lisa Tonra, Personal Trainer
1. I'm (getting) old anyway.
As the saying goes, age is just a number. Exercise, both cardiovascular and strength training, helps you look and feel younger and stay active longer. Equally as important, regular physical activity lowers your risk for a variety of serious conditions, including Type II diabetes (diabetes mellitus), cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure, obesity, colon cancer, Alzheimer's Disease and dementia. Much research has shown that inactivity often causes older adults to lose the ability to live independently. Being sedentary can lead to more doctors' visits (or worse, hospitalizations) and increased use of medications for largely preventable illnesses. Exercise is the key to staying strong, energetic and healthy, and delaying or reversing common conditions of the aging process.
Not true! Regular exercise builds strength and stamina, which prevents loss of bone mass and improves balance, thus REDUCING your risk of falling! Muscle weakness has been shown to be the biggest risk factor for falls. Although we do lose some muscle mass with age, exercise can slow this rate of loss and even reverse it.
No problem - it's NEVER too late to start exercising! Physical movement and sports skills can be learned at ANY age (you may not become an Olympic contender, but I can guarantee that climbing stairs, walking the dog and carrying groceries will become MUCH easier). The advice of a well-qualified personal trainer and/or physical therapist can be invaluable as you begin your journey towards greater health.
Motion is lotion for aging joints! Most adults over 50 suffer from osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease) at one or more joints. Exercise will improve strength, flexibility and posture, helping to alleviate its common symptoms which include stiffness, pain and loss of functional movement and mobility. One of the greatest 'at-risk' joints is your knee. The odds of developing knee osteoarthritis (OA) rises hugely after age 50. By age 80, about one-third of men and half of all women will have OA of the knee. As knee OA progresses, it can cause debilitating pain, reduce your mobility and increase difficulty in performing daily activities. Add it all up and your quality of life is greatly reduced (and who wants that?) But adding exercise to your life can significantly reduce your risk for developing symptomatic OA. If you already have an arthritic knee, hip, or shoulder exercise can greatly improve your mobility and will reduce discomfort. More mobility and less pain? Let's GO!
Not so fast! There is much research to support the value of exercise in shoring up memory and brain function. Both cardiovascular and strength training exercise can actually help to 'bulk up' the brain by creating more cells in the brain areas responsible for memory, learning. and critical decision making. More blood flow to the brain = sharper thinking AND reduced risk of Alzheimer's Disease and dementia.
Lisa Tonra, a twenty-year veteran of the fitness/wellness business, holds credentials from ACSM, NASM, and BASI Pilates and is currently a Physical Therapy graduate student. She specializes in injury 'pre-habilitation,' prevention and recovery for all sports-related and overuse conditions. Lisa can also design, implement, coach and monitor fitness routines for all recreational athletes, fitness enthusiasts and beginning exercisers. Her philosophy is a simple one: "There is a (sometimes hidden) fitness enthusiast in all of us! It’s good to set a short-term fitness, health or lifestyle goal to get yourself up and moving, but challenge yourself to take the longer view of 'training for life.' What are Your Body Goals? I can help you achieve and maintain them, and do it injury-free!"
Visit Lisa's personal website here: http://yourbodygoals.com