Exercising at any age is very important. Hitting the gym at regular intervals is no longer just for the younger generation, we are seeing more of the older generation between the ages of 35 and 40 in the gym than ever before. They too have been bitten by the fitness bug!
In the past, we were taught that exercise at any age is a key element of good health and longevity, but recent research has zoomed in on a period in your life when it may the most important of all, which is towards your early 30s and 40s. A massive survey of more than 315,000 participants conducted in 2019 shows that people who didn’t start exercising regularly until they were in their 40s (or even 50s) still reap the benefits compared to people who have been working out most of their lives. Researchers divided the participants into three groups based on activity level: those who have worked out since they were younger adults, those who started later in life and those who used to work out a lot but not so much anymore. The team was surprised to learn that the older group who started exercising later in life lowered their mortality rate 32% to 35% compared to the control group (people who never exercised) even after taking into consideration body mass index, alcohol consumption and other life factors.
So why is it important to exercise after the age of 35 / 40? Well, the most important reason would be to prevent muscle loss and osteoporosis, the loss of bone mass. Researchers write that preventing sarcopenia muscle loss and osteoporosis that occurs as we get older is one of the most pressing challenges of biomedicine in our aging society. However, resistance training, such as lifting weights, is the best means of prevention. But that’s not the only reason why it is important to exercise as we get older, it also increases aerobic capacity, better fatty acid metabolism, and improves bone and joint health.
Remember that sarcopenia muscle loss shouldn’t be the only reason why you exercise as you get older! Engaging in regular physical exercise or activities has been shown to promote good health, reduce your chances of developing many diseases, and assist you in living a longer, happier and healthier life. As we approach the age of 50, strength or resistance training is crucial for maintaining the ability to have an active and independent lifestyle.
It turns out the average 30-35-year-old person will experience roughly a 25 percent decline in his or her muscle strength and tone by the age of 70-75, and up to a 50 percent decline approaching the age of 90. Simply doing aerobic exercises such as walking or light treadmill workouts will not be adequate to preserve muscle tone, bone health, balance, and posture. If you are not engaging in strength or resistance training, the chances are high that you will lose strength and become less functional as you age. Strength training can involve some approaches including using free weights, such as dumbbells or barbells, resistance or elastic bands that allow you to flex using your arms and legs, as well as ankle weights or vests and other special exercises that use your body weight to simulate resistance against gravity. Strength training also has positive benefits on bone maintenance and stability that eclipse the potential benefits of aerobic weight-bearing exercise. It targets the bones of the spine, hips, wrists, and ribs, which are common sites that fracture.
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