Rethinking exercise

Posted: November 14, 2011 in aging, health

Here’s a NYT headline that’s bound to get the attention of any Baby Boomer: Aging Well Through Exercise:

[According to T]he Performance and Research Initiative for Masters Athletes at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, who oversaw the study, “They suggest strongly that people don’t have to lose muscle mass and function as they grow older. The changes that we’ve assumed were due to aging and therefore were unstoppable seem actually to be caused by inactivity. And that can be changed.”

The study examined a group of competitive swimmers, runners and cyclists, all 40+. And it was all good news in terms of their muscle mass and fitness levels.

Whether similar benefits are attainable by people who take up exercise when they are middle-aged or older “isn’t yet clear,” [one researcher] says, “although there’s no reason to think that you wouldn’t get similar results no matter when you start.” (Italics mine.)

I’ve always thought certain body changes were inevitable with age, like that loss of muscle mass and the blockiness around the middle torso that has crept up on me, but this kind of information encourages me. Time to dust off the exercise equipment, ladies. I’ve been wanting to find some more reading time, and my recumbent bicycle makes it easy to hold a book or a Kindle. Two problems solved. Maybe this way I can avoid the usual five pounds I gain every holiday season.

Care to join me? I’ll report on my progress.

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Comments
  1. Good news: you can still do it, it just takes longer. I was a wreck when I turned 40 – I was even starting to have trouble getting out of the car because my legs were so weakened. It took 4 years of going to the gym 3x a week before I could even jog 1/4 mile. Now I’m 47, and I’m downhill skiing and kickboxing for fun. I’ve lost nearly 30 pounds, I have abs, I look great in a bikini, and an acquaintance recently told me I look 10 years younger.

    Go for it! You’ll feel great!

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