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Exercise! Sedentary Lifestyle More to Blame for Decline With Age Than Aging

timv's picture

Just spotted this one:

Running Into Old Age
Ian McMahan, Apr 22, 2015


While some loss of strength is inevitable, the researchers found that older athletes who participated in exercise programs showed significantly more muscle strength that people of similar age who didn’t exercise. Maintaining muscle strength can be a key component of successful aging, as past research has shown that its loss in seniors is correlated to an increased risk of falling, a significant cause of age-related trauma.

In fact, contrary to popular belief, older adults are not at an overall increased risk of injury when participating in exercise activity; rather, regular exercise puts them at diminished risk compared to their sedentary peers. The 2014 study noted that regular movement can strengthen bone density, which protects against osteoporosis, while a separate study, published in 1985 in the Journal of Applied Physiology, found that it can also help reduce the risk of arthritis and injuries to tendons and ligaments.

Even for the adults who haven’t exercised in years or even decades, research suggests that late is still better than never. A 2014 study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that among a group of people aged 55 to 73, those who had exercised at least once a week subsequently had lower rates of chronic disease, depression, and “physical or cognitive impairment” than their more sedentary peers. However, the subjects that began the study as sedentary but began exercising regularly sometime over its eight-year follow-up period had outcomes that were almost as good.

So keep on busting in.


eebee's picture

The Atlantic's article

The Atlantic's article suggests a minimum of 150 mins of moderate intensity, or 75 mins of vigorous activity per week, plus 2 muscle-focused exercise stints. So the mainstream recommendation of a 30 minute walk, 3-4 times a week just isn't going to do the job. 

I had been wondering just how I'm going to get myself to work out if I don't skate. I do notice a decent muscle and brain chemistry boost from doing a set of weights and dryland exercises at home. This benefit lasts me a good 24 hours afterwards, and is instant and powerful enough to make me want to do it again the next chance I get. 

I've been considering blogging here about my music lessons, sight-reading progress, memory, and struggles therewith. Exercise has been crucial to optimising those endeavours. 

I feel a little more encouraged now, after reading The Atlantic's 'go for it' attitude in that article.

timv's picture

I'm going to assume that you

I'm going to assume that you remember my suggestion for what to do if you aren't skating. I won't repeat it but it hasn't changed!

And as for the mainstream recommendation, I guess they can set the goalposts wherever they want. I'm sure there's always some metric they could pick that would show benefit from even the most minimal activity. But people will typically fall short no matter how little is recommended, because "I walked a lot in the grocery store, and I go to the mailbox and back every day, so if you count that..." Might as well aim high...

But if you feel moved to blog about any of those things you mention, please do. I'd enjoy reading that.

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