At What Age is Exercise No Longer Good for You?
© 2015 Health Realizations, Inc. Update
When you hit your 20s it was easy to stay slim and active. By your 30s, you found time to make it to the gym but not as much as you would have liked between family, work and other responsibilities. In your 40s, you kept your gym membership but were far from a regular. By the time you reached your 50s, your workouts became more sporadic. In your 60s, you began to wonder … is this still worth it?
Exercising for as little as four hours a week can triple the three-year survival rate of 85-year-olds.
This is the story of exercise for many. When we’re young we enjoy exercise and society engrains the benefits in our minds. Unfortunately, images of fit people working out feature young people almost exclusively. Many believe, mistakenly, that as you age exercise is no longer safe or effective, and then give it up entirely.
Well, if you’re in your 60s … if you’re in your 70s … even if you’re in your mid- to late 80s and beyond … new research says exercise is good for you. That, actually, is putting it mildly.
Exercise Can Extend Your Life … And it’s NEVER Too Late to Start
New research from Israeli researchers should settle the debate of who’s too old to exercise once and for all. The answer is, quite possibly no one.
The researchers found that even in the “oldest old” physical activity was beneficial. The three-year survival rate among active 85-year-olds turned out to be about three times higher than the rate for their inactive peers.
Those who got four hours or more of exercise weekly were considered active, anything less was inactive, so a little bit of movement goes a long way. Even walking for four hours a week was enough to confer the longevity benefits.
Further, even previously sedentary 85-year-olds had double the three-year survival rate of inactive 85-year-olds, and those who exercised also reported less depression and loneliness and a greater ability to perform daily tasks.
So for those of you still wondering if you should give exercise a go, if you can double your survival rate by starting exercise in your 80s, imagine what you can do if you start in your 40s, 50s, 60s or 70s.
The message? No more excuses, it’s time to get moving.
Chances are that you already know the benefits of exercise, but because of time issues, lack of motivation or not knowing exactly how to start up again, you've been resisting it.
Well, if it’s been awhile since you’ve exercised, the following are nine great tps to get you moving again rejuvenating for improved health and wellbeing to add years to your "higher quality of life".
How to Most Effectively Start Working Out When You Haven't Exercised in Years
Most Americans do not exercise regularly, but you don't have to be one of them.
If it's been a while since you last exercised, no worries, you can start up again. In fact, you are never too old to benefit from exercise.
It's a fact that even many people in wheelchairs or bedridden including those whoe have lost arms or legs each day find ways to exercise knowing its critically important for their good health.
"A body in motion stays in motion."
A body that stops moving gradually will degenerate muscle which causes poor circulation and inflammation that in turn opens oneself up to many possible diseases.
Regaining your strength in any and every muscle you can is the key to your good health and longevity.
Consider one study published in the Journal of Aging and Health. It divided 64 people, ranging in age from 66 to 96 (with an average age of 84) into three groups; one group exercised by walking, the second did resistance training, and the third did no exercise.
When compared with the no-exercise group, after exercising just twice a week for 16 weeks the participants in both exercise groups experienced:
Lower systolic blood pressure
Improved upper and lower body strength
Improved hip and shoulder flexibility
Improvements in tests of agility, balance and coordination
Chances are, though, that you already know the benefits of exercise, but because of time issues, lack of motivation or not knowing exactly how to start up again, you've been resisting it.
With the tips below, you can begin to exercise again, at any age, and with even the busiest schedule.
Get Ready to Exercise!
1. Decide Why You Want to Exercise
We often focus on reasons why we can't, or won't, exercise. Yet, the most important thing is why you do want to. Are you trying to lose weight? Build strength? Improve your heart health?
These are the things to focus on when you feel your motivation waning.
2. Start Slowly
You must begin your workouts gradually, or you risk burnout or injury. Begin by walking a mile or two, then gradually increase your pace and distance. After you feel your body beginning to shape up, you can start with other forms of higher intensity exercise.
3. Be Realistic
Getting back into shape takes time, so don't expect to run a marathon after your first week. Be realistic about what to expect, and you'll begin to feel changes in your body and endurance within a few weeks. You also need to be realistic about how often you can exercise. It's probably not wise to go from zero exercise to a six-day per week exercise schedule. Try starting out with two or three days a week instead, and be sure to give your body time to recover between your workouts.
4. Schedule it In
One of the most common reasons why people fall off the exercise wagon is "there's not enough time." But, if you schedule exercise into your routine -- just as you would a dentist's appointment or your child's soccer match -- you'll have no excuse. Write it down on your calendar and when it's time to exercise, exercise!
Even people in their 90s can benefit from exercising, so what are you waiting for?
There's a reason why they say "variety is the spice of life." Exercise does not have to be boring or tedious. In fact, it can be enjoyable if you simply vary your workouts. One day try a beginner's kickboxing class at your gym. The next, go for a long, brisk walk with a friend. Then try a yoga class or weight lifting. Varying your workouts also ensures that you're working all of your muscle groups and getting all the benefits that exercise has to offer.
6. Don't Overdo It
Once you start exercising again, you may find it to be highly addictive. This is a good thing, as long as you listen to your body to avoid injury or burnout. If you're overly sore or short of breath, back off on the intensity. If you don't feel well one day, remember that it's OK to take a day off.
7. Get a Workout Partner
It's often more fun to workout with a friend, and your workout buddy can encourage you to keep going if you're losing motivation (and vice versa). For best results, try to find a buddy who's at the same fitness level as you are.
If you don't have a buddy in-person, you can get many of the same benefits by trying out a personal trainer, or visiting an exercise forum online. There are many that offer support and encouragement for people trying to stick to their exercise program.
8. Make Your Goals Easy, and Measurable
If you set exercise goals that are too intense (such as "I will go to the gym for 1.5 hours every day), you will be overwhelmed and likely give up after a few days. Instead, set goals that you can achieve, such as "This week I'll walk for 20 minutes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday," or "I will attend yoga class on Tuesday and go to aerobics on Saturday." These goals are easy, and you can measure them to make sure you stayed on track.
9. Reward Yourself
Reward yourself not based on how many inches or pounds you've lost, but for simply sticking to your workout goals.
Enjoy how much better you will feel in just a few weeks to a month and ongoing thereafter!
Next, if you truly want to both look and feel younger no matter what your age, stretching your body's muscles on a daily basis is essential. Not only will it increase your flexibility -- which is key to preventing various diseases and injuries -- but it is also one of the most effective methods to reduce stress and anxiety.
Stretch all the key muscles groups throughout your entire body, and it only takes about 15-20 minutes per day total to do the complete stretching routine.
Stretching is one of the most widely recommended methods to help you look and feel younger, live longer, avoid and even overcome serious health issues, and increase your mental concentration and emotional well-being.
So what are you waiting for?
Exercise can increase your health and lifespan even if you’re just starting out in your 80s or 90s … so NOW is your time to get fit and give your body the healthy gift of exercise.
Archives of Internal Medicine; 169(16):1476-1483
Journal of Aging and Health; 18: 91-105