I have heard many of my clients say, “If I knew I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself!" Some of us do our best, but are so unsure of what to do or where to start. Exercise is one of the keys for quality of life, and it is never too late to start. A program that includes both resistance training and cardiovascular activity can make a huge impact on your health.
1.) Muscle mass decreases as we age.
If you are over 40 you may have already noticed a difference in your muscle mass. Adults lose 3%-5% of muscle mass per decade (Medicinenet.com). Muscle keeps us strong, burns calories and helps us maintain our weight. The good news is that muscle mass can increase at any age in response to exercise.
2.) Exercise can improve your mood!
[caption id="attachment_10796" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]
U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Jason Tilley, 20th Equipment Maintenance Squadron, bites his medal after completing an Ultimate Marine Corps Mud Run in Columbia, S.C., April 30, 2016. The 6.2 mile run that consisted of 20 obstacles, was created by a retired Marine Corps Drill Instructor who hoped the run would give people who havnt joined the military a look into what it takes to complete boot camp.[/caption]It has been documented, in younger adults, that exercise can alleviate symptoms of depression and even compete with the effects of antidepressant medication. It is fair to say is that exercise has a mood-elevating effect in most adults as well, whatever their age. It may not be the cure for depression, but talk to most anyone who exercises, no matter what their age, and they will report a "feel-good" phenomenon after exercise.7
3.) It can improve your cognitive function
One of the most exciting areas of exercise research is the investigation of cognitive function. What scientists have learned so far is that brain neurons increase in great numbers after just a few days or weeks of regular activity. In a study where researchers used an MRI to measure the amount of brain tissue in adults they found that the fittest individuals had the most brain tissue. This is great news for those 55 years of age and older since they have more difficulty in tasks like coordination, scheduling, planning, and memory (Medicinenet.com).
4.) Improved Balance
[caption id="attachment_10799" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]
Pfc. Debra Pope, representing Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center in Hattiesburg, Miss., walks the elevated balance beam on the confidence course during the Mississippi National Guard’s 2017 Best Warrior Competition at Camp McCain near Elliott, Miss., March 9, 2017. (Mississippi National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Tynes, 102d Public Affairs Detachment)[/caption]Balance decreases as we age, consequently, falling is a major problem. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one of every three Americans over the age of 65 falls each year, accounting for 87% of all fractures. The good news is that muscle strengthening and balance exercises can reduce the risk of falling by as much as 45%.
5.)Reduced risk of disease
Having a family history of obesity, diabetes and heart problems is something most of us can relate to. Making exercise a part of your daily or weekly routine can reduce the risk of these diseases, and many others!Because we do not know exactly how long we are going to live, it would be a good idea to take care of ourselves the best way we can. As I mentioned, it is never too late to start!