08 July, 2011
How Does Age Affect Exercise?
Regular exercise can improve your health no matter your age, but as you get older, you might notice changes that affect your activity level. Muscle mass begins to decrease as you age, which can throw off your balance as well as slow your metabolism. You might find yourself more motivated to exercise as you get older to help ward off chronic diseases, control excess weight and stay active for life.
Loss of Muscle Mass
The amount of muscle and fatty tissue you have will change with age. Your body fat can increase by up to 30 percent, which leads to a loss of lean muscle tissue and can affect your sense of balance. This can make it difficult for you to perform exercise activities you once enjoyed. The loss of muscle also lowers your metabolism, because your body uses more energy to maintain muscle tissue than it does fat. As a result, you might find it harder to keep excess pounds at bay once you get older, and you may need to work out more often than you used to.
Your energy levels might decrease with age, making the idea of working out unappealing. But if you keep up with your workouts, you can actually improve your energy level and mood. Regular exercise can enhance the health of your cardiovascular system, helping your body to circulate your blood more efficiently and boost your energy throughout the day. It can also ward off depression and stress and help you sleep better, and all of these benefits will motivate you to get more activity into your life as you age.
To stay healthy with age, you need to take care of your body, and this means doing things that help prevent certain chronic diseases. Your bone mass begins to decline once your enter your thirties, putting you at risk for conditions such as osteoporosis. If you are concerned about developing this condition, perform more weight-bearing exercises, such as running and tennis. Regular cardio activity will also help you control high blood pressure and high cholesterol, as well as ward off type 2 diabetes and some kinds of cancer.
No matter your fitness level, mood or motivation, regular exercise can help you stay active for life. Change your routine according to your concerns as you age. For instance, to help with balance, take up yoga or tai chi. Take a dance class to strengthen your bones, or go for a daily jog to improve your heart health and boost your mood. Don’t let age keep you from the activities you enjoy, and look for exercises that fit your fitness level and goals.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Obesity and Overweight
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Aging Changes in Body Shape
- National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases: Exercise for Your Bone Health
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Physical Activity and Health
- monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images