Here’s a preview of a guest blog post Siobhan Milner wrote for To Be Personal Training in Christchurch, New Zealand, about whether or not getting older should really mean slowing down when it comes to exercise… Enjoy!
It’s a fact of life that our bodies aren’t quite as efficient at repairing or regenerating as we get older. This can mean an increased frequency of injuries and a longer healing time. It may be easy to think, “Perhaps it’s time to slow down…”
Of course, we need to listen to our bodies. It might be that you’re no longer going to be a sprinter with a pace to challenge Usain Bolt. But if you want to be able to move as freely and easily as possible well into your golden years (and even if you’re already entering those years!), you’ve got to keep moving!
The cliché “Use it or lose it” rings true here. I’ve met many clients with arthritis, knee and hip replacements, or individuals who just have a long history of being sedentary. It is hard to get moving again when we’ve been inactive for so long, or when historical injury can mean that movement causes pain. But if you read our post on ligament dominance, you’ll know that keeping our muscles strong is vital for looking after our joints.
A team of researchers from Finland and the U.S.A. found that a 21 week strength program (including resistance training twice a week) lead to large gains in maximal strength, walking time and balance (1).
Perhaps you’re not surprised – of course strength training makes us stronger and fitter! But did you know regular physical activity is also associated with increased longevity, and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, and cancer (2)?
(1) J Holviala Affiliation: Department of Biology of Physical Activity, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland, et al. (2014). Effects of prolonged and maintenance strength training on force production, walking, and balance in aging women and men. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, 24(1), 224-233.
(2) Simpson et al. (2012). Exercise and the aging immune system. Ageing Research Reviews, 11(3), 404-420.