Saturday, April 29, 2006

Exercise And the Elderly.

The following is a Reuters report published in the Sun (27/4/06):

Easing age gap through regular exercise.
OLDER adults may have to work harder than young people to perform the same physical activity, but regular exercise may close that age gap, research findings suggests.
In a study comparing sedentary adults in their 60s and 70s with those in their 20s and 30s, researchers found that older men and women had to use much more oxygen to walk at the same speed as their younger counterparts.
But that was before they went through a six-month exercise programme. After taking up walking or jogging, biking and stretching, the senior study participants reversed their loss of exercise `efficiency'.
Exercise efficiency refers to how much energy the body expends to perform a given activity.
At the start of this study, older men and women used 20% more oxygen to walk at the same speed as a younger person, said Dr Wayne C. Levy of the University of Washington in Seattle, the study's senior author.
But six months of regular exercise - 90 minutes, three days per week - improved the older participants' exercise efficiency by 30%, versus only 2% among their younger counterparts. The findings are published in the current issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
It's well known that as people age, there is a decline in exercise capacity - how much work a person can do before becoming exhausted. But the new findings suggest this is not just a product of the ageing cardiovascular system being less able to send oxygen to working muscles.
The older body also needs more oxygen to perform the same work as a younger one - that is, exercise efficiency declines. But this decline appears to arise largely from inactivity, and may well be reversible. - Reuters

*** The benefits of exercise are known to everyone but how many of us take regular exercise seriously? The excuses not to do so are legion and very convincing to hear. In our minds we feel nothing will happen to us, it always happens to someone else. Then a close friend or relative cops it and all of a sudden we become aware of our own mortality. This awareness I suppose is more profound in the elderly than the younger ones.

Let there be no doubt that exercise is essential for all, irrespective of age or sex or current state of health. 'Health is wealth' is not only a proverb, it should be your credo. A holistic approach to good health must include regular exercising, stable emotional and mental health, a balanced diet which has all the key nutrients and most importantly a healthy lifestyle.
Listed below are some of the long-term and short-term benefits of exercise, courtesy of as an encouragement to start exercising.

Long-Term Benefits
Decreases Risk of Heart Disease. Inactive people are 2x more likely to develop coronary artery disease (CAD) then active people.
Decreases blood pressure. High blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. Inactive people are 2x more likely to develop high blood pressure than active people.
Decreases Body fat. Regular physical activity helps maintain optimal body weight and composition. High blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and kidney disease.
Decreases Cholesterol Level. A high blood cholesterol level increases the risk of heart disease. Regular exercise raises the level of "good" cholesterol and lowers the level of the "bad" cholesterol.
Decreases Risk of Diabetes. Physical activity lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes and increases glucose uptake for those who already have diabetes. Fit women have diabetes 66% less often than unfit women.
Decreases Risk of Cancer. Physical activity lowers the risk of colon and breast cancer.
Decreases Risk of Osteoporosis. Regular exercise delays bone loss and promotes bone formation.
Decreases Arthritis Symptoms. Regular exercise helps keep joints flexible and helps build muscle to support the joint.
Decreases Number of Sick Days Exercisers feel sick almost 30% less often than non-exercisers.
Decreases Chance of Premature Death. Fit people live longer than unfit people.

Short-Term Benefits
Relaxes and revitalizes. Physical activity reduces mental and muscular tension, and at the same time, increases concentration and energy level.
A Break From Daily Routine and Worries. Physical activity is like a mini-vacation—you’re allowed to have fun.
Helps You Feel Good About Yourself. Physical activity increases your self-esteem and self-confidence.
While many people start a physical activity program because of long-term benefits, it’s the short-term benefits that keep them motivated to continue the habit. (courtesy

*** So there you have it. Why you should exercise and the benefits of it, and as for the consequences of not doing so.... we shall keep that for another time.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

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It was very nice.
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2:57 AM GMT+8  

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