Sunday, April 26, 2009

Roll Back The Clock

Yesterday I met with the lead Personal Trainer at the gym where I attend. We talked about Personal Trainers finding their "niche" of clientele. I explained that as a personal trainer, I am interested in working with "older" adults, let's say 35 or 40 and up. (I know that 35-40 is not old, but you get what I mean); those adults who simply want to loose a few pounds, strengthen the heart, increase flexibility, and just feel a little better about themselves. My "niche" is not those that are looking to become Mr. Universe or train for the Olympics. The Lead Trainer said to get as much information as I possibly can about training my "niche."

In doing some research, time and time again, I came across articles that discussed the role exercise can have on the aging process. One such study was published in 2001, and further supported what many cardiologists have long since believed, that even moderate amounts of aerobic exercise can literally "roll back the clock." One of the things this study concluded was that with as little as 6 months of moderate aerobic exercise, middle aged individuals can reverse the effects of decades of aging on cardiovascular fitness.

In addition to cardiovascular exercise, many studies indicate that weight training is extremely beneficial to older adults. We are not talking about necessarily heavy lifting, but lighter weights. Scientists say the answer is yes, weight training is needed. In a study of women aged 50 to 70, the women who strength trained gained 1% more bone density in the hip and spine while the group that did not lift weights lost 2.5 % bone density. Those who trained had strength increases from about 35 to 76% above the control group. Balance improved 14% and general physical activity increased by about 27%. The same is true for men. Its a fact that after age 30 [many claim as early as 25] Muscle begins to atrophy, a process which accelerates after 40. It is claimed that between ages 40 and 60 an average man loses 35% of Muscle and add this to the 15% between age 25 and 40. You should work all of your major muscle groups at least twice a week, starting out with a weight you can lift 12-15 reps, then when you can easily do 15 reps, increase the weight a few pounds.

Exercise may not actually be a fountain of youth, but it is as close as it gets. It is never too late to start. Get outside and walk! Or get to a gym and begin your program today.