Thursday, May 14, 2009

Aging and the Importance of Regular Exercise

If your an aging baby boomer (born between 1946 and 1964) like me you probably at times feel the adverse effects that aging can have on the body. If your looking to feel better as you age and help prevent what is known as "boomeritis" - you simply need to exercise but be smart about what your doing and how your doing it. The piece that most people don't understand is the volume aspect. When your ready to increase your volume of work, do so in a safe, progressive manner (i.e. 5-10% per week) and your body will return the favor by feeling more energized come next workout.

With aging, comes the onslaught of body fat. As you age you lose muscle (known as sarcopenia) and add body fat (it's like death and taxes). Exercise - consistent exercise that is - will help retard (slow down) the process. Why exercise? Because the average person between age 30 and 60 tends to add about a pound of body weight/year if exercise is not in the picture. It does not seem like a big deal, I know, but that's an additional 30 lbs of weight that puts more stress on the body, heart and so on. Couple that with the loss of muscle at a rate of about 1/2 pound per year (5 lbs./decade) and you have a real uphill battle taking place. The magic pill available is exercise, especially strength training. Building strength as you age will not only fight off sarcopenia but will also keep your metabolism elevated and improve functionality and balance. If your not currently involved in any of this...start now...start progressive...and most importantly - be consistent. Here is a paper I recently read on sarcopenia (also see R. Roubenoff and Roubenoff).

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