Exercise beneficial regardless of your age

Published 8:32 am Monday, August 1, 2011

The benefits from exercise throughout life, are obvious to most of us, but is it safe for persons over 65 years of age to exercise regularly?
According to the American Academy of Family Physicians. The benefits of regular exercise include improved mood, protection from chronic disease and a lowered chance of injury. Even most individuals with chronic disease, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, arthritis and diabetes, can exercise safely.
In fact, many of these conditions improve with exercise. It is true that as we age, it takes longer to recover from exercise, but with proper strategy, you can make tremendous progress at any age.
When I first came to Landrum, I had a new client who came to me with an abdominal injury, for rehabilitation. He told me after the rehab was complete, he wanted to begin an exercise routine. He was rather thin, and had never exercised before. The first exercise I had him do was bicep curls, with 10-pound dumbbells. I was surprised when he had trouble lifting the weight. He didn’t give up though.
Today, he can do barbell bicep curls with 55 pounds, and can even do wide grip chin-ups.
Here’s the thing though. This coming August he turns 92.
Now, I’m not suggesting that everyone over 65, should try to get in that kind of shape. What I am saying, is that you came tremendously improve your health by starting an exercise program.
Some other conditions that improve with exercise are Alzheimer’s and dementia, arthritis, obesity and colon cancer.
Another condition that exercise dramatically improves in seniors is osteoporosis.
Our bodies have cells called osteoblasts that originate in our bone marrow. These cells bring calcium into our bones. Exercise, particularly weight training, increases the rate at which these osteoblasts bring in this calcium to strengthen bones. Inactivity slows this process tremendously.
Remember, if we lived long enough, we would all have osteoporosis, and if you’re not exercising, at any age, you’re setting yourself up for osteoporosis.
If you’re going to start an exercise program, start slowly. Also, get instruction from someone who is experienced, not only with how to do exercise properly, but from someone who has experience working with older individuals.
Diet or exercise question? Email me at  or visit fitness4yourlife.org.
David Crocker of Landrum has been a nutritionist for 24 years. He served as strength director of the Spartanburg Y.M.C.A., head strength coach S.C. state champion girls gymnastic team, USC-Spartanburg baseball team, Converse college equestrian team, lead trainer to L.H. Fields modeling agency, and taught four semesters at USC-Union. David was also a regular guest of the Pam Stone radio show.

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