Study Shows the Benefits of Exercise Have No Age Limit
A massive study made headlines recently by concluding that not exercising is worse for your health than smoking and diabetes.
But many readers over 50 will be glad to know that the study also has a huge age-related finding: The spectacular benefits of exercise have no age limit.
“Whether you’re in your 40s or your 80s, you will benefit in the same way,” said the study’s senior author, Dr. Wael Jaber, a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic.
Sedentary people are almost four times as likely to die early as those who exercise regularly, says the study. It looked at 122,000 people who were tested on treadmills over 13 years.
“There actually is no ceiling for the benefit of exercise,” he said. “”There’s no age limit that doesn’t benefit from being physically fit.”
So, if you’re already exercising regularly, then keep it up.
But sadly, most Americans of all ages don’t get enough exercise. One bit of good news: People over age 70 are the fastest-growing segment of the population to use personal trainers, according to the Personal Training Development Center.
We believe what this study and the trend show – that exercise is right for everyone, regardless of age. Come see us, and let us show you how comfortable, safe and fun it is to stay healthy and live longer.
Stretching for Overall Health, Fun, and Fall Prevention – from Yoga to Tai Chi and more
Can you touch your toes?
Or stand on one foot for 30 seconds?
If you can’t, you’re not alone. But balance and flexibility are among the key facets of physical fitness. And just like cardiovascular endurance and strength, they diminish with age unless we work on them.
Working on balance and flexibility helps prevent falls, which can be disastrous later in life. And just like it’s never too late to start working on them, it’s also never too soon. Anyone engaged in fitness should include stretching in his or her routine, whether beginning or experienced.
There’s a reason people have always talked about being “strong enough to bend,” you know.
Plus, stretching feels good. It lowers stress, and improves posture and circulation. It helps us perform everyday activities, like bending over and turning our heads. You can work on it everyday around the house and at work.
Talk to us if you have any questions, and check our schedule of classes to see what might be right for you. Here are some of the offerings that are popular among active adults. They are safe, low impact and require mindfulness, in the best sense.
Almost 40 million Americans enjoy yoga’s health benefits, according to the 2016 Yoga in America Study.
About one-fifth are in their 50s, and another one-fifth are over 60.
Yoga is great for balance, strength and bone density. It helps with back pain, blood pressure and anxiety. The focus on breathing is simple and profoundly beneficial for the mind, body and spirit. You don’t need any special equipment, and you can do it anywhere, although we recommend a few classes, at least, to start with.
And, super-important for people over 50: Yoga is highly adaptable to everyone’s physical needs and limitations. Let your instructor know about any aches, arthritis, surgeries, etc. – and he or she will guide you to a modification.
Pilates focuses on the core muscles. It is somewhat similar to yoga, but it foregoes the meditative or metaphysical aspects. It provides a safe, low-impact workout that involves working on a mat on the floor (along with some minor props that are furnished in class).
Also like yoga, Pilates generally moves at a gentle, deliberate pace and focuses on proper form and breathing. And it can build strength, reduce back pain, and improve posture, coordination and balance.
Pilates focuses on building strength in the core muscles, or the “powerhouse” of the legs, abdominals, arms, hips and back.
It was created by Joseph Pilates, a circus performer and boxer, while he was in a World War I internment camp. He practiced it into his 80s.
The slow, gentle movements of tai chi (pronounced TIE CHEE) have been practiced in China for thousands of years, and today by millions of people around the world.
The ancient martial art is sometimes called “meditation in motion.” And remembering the steps and their sequence is good for brain health and focus.
Studies show Tai Chi helps people with arthritis and Parkinson’s disease, as well as stress management, muscle tone, lower blood pressure and other aspects of good health. It has become somewhat trendy for medical and fitness providers who serve people over 50.
It’s also one of the best things we can do to improve our balance while standing still and also while moving. In other words, tai chi is great for preventing falls.
General tips for stretching
Falls are the leading cause of death for people over 65, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One in three adults falls each year. Thousands of Americans die, and millions are hurt.
Whether here or at home with a book or video, please stretch – at least 15 minutes a day, three times a week. For a nice introduction to some basic movements, check out this from the National Institute on Aging.
Before any stretching, take a 5-minute walk to warm up.
Keep breathing while you stretch.
Give time to your calves, front and back thighs, hips, lower and upper back, chest, shoulders and neck. If you’ve had surgery, talk to your doctor first.
Alton Brown’s Lentil Soup
The Food Network’s Alton Brown shares his lentil soup. Mmmm, so good – and just 372 calories and 8 grams of fat per serving. Cozy up with a bowl of this and a side salad for a well-rounded wintertime meal.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
½ cup finely chopped carrot
½ cup finely chopped celery
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 pound lentils, picked and rinsed
1 cup peeled and chopped tomatoes
2 quarts chicken or vegetable broth
½ teaspoon freshly ground coriander
½ teaspoon freshly ground toasted cumin
½ teaspoon freshly ground grains of paradise
Place the olive oil into a large 6-quart Dutch oven and set over medium heat.
Once hot, add the onion, carrot, celery and salt and sweat until the onions are translucent, approximately 6 to 7 minutes.
Add the lentils, tomatoes, broth, coriander, cumin and grains of paradise and stir to combine.
Increase the heat to high and bring just to a boil.
Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook at a low simmer until the lentils are tender, approximately 35 to 40 minutes.
Using a stick blender, puree to your preferred consistency.