Exercise is the best anti-aging treatment. However, most individuals seem to prefer being sedentary and risk having many chronic diseases associated with age. Maybe it is because we are completely surrounded with too many so-called “easy ways to reverse the clock.” Botox, plastic surgeries, anti-aging lotions, you get the picture. Unfortunately, these quick fixes only work on the outside. What about the inside? Our heart, lungs, muscles, and bones – they too suffer the effects of aging. As we get older, we tend to lose muscle and bone mass, our flexibility becomes limited, the production of hormones declines, our cardiorespiratory capacity diminishes, and our cognitive function becomes impaired, among others.
The good news is that living an active lifestyle can make your body stronger and more resistant to the wear and tear of time. Regular physical activity contributes to maintain/build muscle and bone mass, keeps your heart and lungs attuned, and improves metabolic function and hormonal production all of which prevent many chronic diseases related to aging.
I know you must be thinking that now is too late; you should have started when you were young. However, this is far away from the truth. The human body is able to respond to exercise at any age.
My husband’s grandma still runs long distance events (5K and 10K) – and she is 92. Her secret is that she keeps herself busy, walking everywhere and attending Pilates and swimming classes three to five days a week. She is the epitome of independent living. Last year, she fell at night and broke her foot, which would be a hospital nightmare for anyone of her age. However, because she kept herself active, in over a month she was up and walking. And if you are thinking that she must have started when she was young, think again. She began her first exercise program on her mid-fifties. Therefore, age is not an excuse.
Still, you should start slowly, increasing volume and intensity as you get used to exercise. Also, depending on your current health status, you should see your doctor for medical clearance. Age is not a contraindication to exercise, but some medical conditions may require special programs.
Carla Torres is an AIF Master Trainer based in Rhodes, NSW. Her mission is to promote exercise, proper nutrition and healthy habits as a way to empower individuals to make decisions leading to better quality of life.