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Is it too late for me to start exercising?
First of all, it’s never too late to begin exercising. The facts are that, here in the U.S., the older population is growing significantly. Unfortunately, many of these adults are not living the independent quality lives they dreamed of for their golden years. Instead, they’re living dependent lives in skilled nursing facilities and convalescent homes. Why? Because they are unable either physically or mentally to do the activities of daily living that keep them leading quality, happy lives in their own homes.
What are the benefits of exercise?
Some of the benefits include decreased cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, improved blood glucose or blood sugar levels, decreasing weight. Exercise also helps us manage stress and improve our mental well being. Exercise reduces the risk of developing many diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke, congestive heart failure and many kinds of cancer to name just a few. Remember for those who have already have some of these diseases, it can slow down or perhaps even stop the progress of these diseases. Exercise helps prevent or slow down the progressive of osteoporosis. Exercise improves circulation. It improves the immune system. Exercise, especially gentle exercise, improves arthritis and some other joint maladies. In addition, we can engage in those recreational activities that contribute to our happiness for many, many years.
What happens to our muscles as we age?
As we grow older, our muscles shrink in atrophy. The medical term for this condition of declining skeletal muscle mass is called, "sarcopenia." While just about any exercise is good for you, no matter what your age, strength training is the key exercise to combat sarcopenia. Strength training or resistance training uses weights or machines to increase resistance against a muscle group during movement.
How do I get started?
It’s recommended that you first establish a good base foundation of cardiovascular fitness before starting a strength training program. Therefore, after exercising aerobically for two to three months, then add the strengthening component.
How often should I do strengthening exercises?
Strengthening exercises should be done two to three times per week. Find strength exercises that emphasize the large muscle groups of the body. For example, chest, back, abdomen, legs and shoulders.
For More Information
To learn more about Sharp's senior health services or to find a Sharp-affiliated physician, search for San Diego doctors or call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm. To find general information about senior health, read the Senior Health News archive.