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How Exercise Decreases the Risk of Age-Related Conditions

May 17, 2008
It is not my age, it is my attitude, says 82 years young, Lillian Brownlee.

The senior population continues to grow. In the not too distant future, millions of baby boomers will retire. This aging of a large population has encouraged medical practitioners, geneticists and researchers to pay attention to aging and health.What the have found is heartening.

The degree to which the risk of age-related conditions affects seniors largely depends upon how well they have managed their lives as it relates to diet and exercise. The good news is that even if you have not exercised a day in your life, you can still reverse many chronic conditions that plague us in our senior years.

For example, a study conducted recently found that moderate-intensity lower body resistance training two to three days per week significantly improved mobility and leg strength in diabetic older adults.

They also determined that exercise combined with behavioral management in 153 Alzheimer patients significantly improved physical functioning and depression.

Yes, food choices and career play a significant role in health and the potential decline of a body systems. However, exercise seems to play the key role in the quality of life and healthy after retirement.

What type of exercise is not important, as long as practices include moderate aerobic activity and strength building activities are part of a regular exercise routine. Golf, Tai Chi, or even bicycling are all spectacular for improving health.

Do not think that once you have reached 60 you are too old to exercise. The number of masters athletes competing in sports continues to grow. In fact, between 1980 and 1996, according to the US Track and Field Association, the number of marathon runners over 40 increased more than fivefold, from 31,200 to 162,360.And in 2006 the USCF, United States Cycling Federation, had more than 1000 licensed and ranked individual road racers that were over 40.

I am probably the oldest athlete in an endurance speed sport.At 52, and a Masters athlete in cycling, Kent Bostic is still going strong and winning championships.

There is no denying it. The number of athletes over the age of 40 is growing and they are performing at levels they never have before.

Even if you are not ready to head to the world championships in your favorite activity, study after study has shown that exercise can not only relieve stress, but can decrease age-related conditions as a result of sedentary lifestyles. Walking twenty-minutes a day, for example, is one form of exercise that can reduce cardiovascular disease, reduce high blood pressure, and maintain the body is overall well-being.

It is important to not let your current limitations deter you. If you are currently struggling with a health condition then start small. Think of it this way; when we learned to walk we took baby steps. Why not approach exercise in the same way when we are old? Develop a routine that is fun, different, and involves myriad exercises along with friends who share the same interests.

Preventing the risk of age-related conditions through exercise is not only necessary but is undeniably the only way to maintain good health. It is, after all, not about age; but attitude.
About the Author
Peter Woronoff is a psychotherapist and a recovering fitness enthusiast. Claim your Free Audio to get your questions answered at www.SeniorFitnessNow
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