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The clock ticks for all of us, and, unfortunately, we can’t stop the aging process. But we can help ourselves slow the aging process by staying active and more physically fit as we age. Researchers are constantly reporting the many benefits of exercise, especially for an aging population.
What May Happen to Me as I Age?
Our bodies go through many changes as we get older. Here’s a list of things that often occur to our bodies:
- Maximum attainable heart rate declines
- Peak capacity of the heart to pump blood declines
- Aerobic capacity declines and cause symptoms of fatigue and breathlessness
- Things we have always done in the past seem a little tougher to do
- Blood vessels begin to stiffen and blood pressures begins to rise
- The blood itself becomes thicker and even harder to pump through the body
- Weight gain occurs, sometimes at a rate of three to four pounds per year
- Muscle mass and bone density begin to decline
- Fat tissue increases
- Higher cholesterol and blood sugar levels
- Increased chance of fracture
- Drop in testosterone levels
- Increased occurrence of arthritis and orthopedic problems
- Nervous system is affected as reflexes slow and memory lapses occur
- Mood changes and feelings of depression may occur
That list wasn’t too encouraging, was it? But I have some good news! You should not go down without a fight, and the best way to battle aging is through EXERCISE!
What Kind of Exercise Do I Need as I Grow Older?
People who stay active and do a regular exercise program that combines both cardiovascular exercise and strength training can slow the effects of the aging process.
Here are three great ways to get the essential exercise you need:
- Cardiovascular exercise should be done at least 30 minutes most days of the week for a total of 150-250 minutes per seven days.
- Strength training exercises should be preformed 2-3 days a week and a variety of muscle groups should be targeted during the routine.
- Yoga, Tai Chi and warm water exercise are also great for senior populations.
Where Is the Best Place to Do My Exercise?
Sometimes, it’s tough to get motivated on your own. In nicer weather, exercising outside with a friend can’t be beat! But during cold or inclement weather, it’s a good idea to find a gym near you that specializes in helping older individuals stay healthy and in shape. Plus, you get the added benefit of socializing with others who want to do the same thing!
The Mercy Health & Fitness Center in North Canton has several trained staff members who can provide a variety of safe and fun exercise for ALL AGES, specifically the senior population and those with medical conditions. Mercy Fitness Center offers cardiovascular and strength training equipment and programs designed for aging populations. Classes specifically for seniors are available, such as the SilverSneakers Fitness Program, Yoga classes, Pilates, Baby Boomer Bootcamp and more. For information about our facility please call 330-966-8997 or contact us online.
About The Author
Stephanie Wheeler holds a master's degree in exercise physiology and has worked in cardiac rehab and general fitness since 1998. Certified by the American College of Sports Medicine as a clinical exercise specialist, Stephanie shares her extensive knowledge of fitness programming, personal training and wellness education at Mercy Health & Fitness Center in North Canton, Ohio. She also offers informative community lectures.