Exercise and Aging 

How does aging affect your body? 

  • Cardiovascular function decreases 
  • Muscular strength decreases 
  • Reaction time becomes slower 
  • Flexibility decreases 
  • Bone mass decreases 
  • Recovery time becomes longer 
  • Percentage of body fat tends to increase 

The extent of decrease in each of these categories is dependent on how much physical activity you participate in. 

How does exercise affect the aging process? 

Evidence is overwhelming that exercise can help slow biological aging, even in individuals as old as 80-90 years of age. Aerobic and resistance training are both great ways to help maintain function of the body as you age. Aerobic training such as walking, biking, or swimming can increase cardiovascular function. Resistance training or weight lifting can combat the amount of muscular strength loss, which is the trait the decreases the fastest with age. 

How much exercise should I get? 

For older adults ages 65 and older OR 50-64 with a chronic condition, these are the recommended guidelines for exercise. 

Aerobic training: 5 or days a week of moderate activity such as walking, light biking, or swimming. 30-60 minutes a day, and does not have to be all at once. 

Resistance training: 2 or more days a week of moderate-intensity lifting. This can include weight machine/or dumbbell, body weight, or resistance band exercises. 8-10 exercises; 1-3 sets; 8-12 reps. 

Flexibility: 2 or more days a week of stretching. Stretch to the point of mild discomfort and hold for 15-30 seconds each. 

Category: Fitness