Exercise and Fitness for Seniors
Never Too Old To
At age 47, Martina Navratilova
returned to Wimbledon and represented the United States in the 2004
In September, seventy-three
year old Ed Whitlock shattered his own world age class marathon record
by completing a marathon in under 3 hours. Ed is the first
in history to attain this goal and he has done it twice!
September 26th was Jack
birthday. The Godfather of Fitness turned 90! Still sporting his
jumpsuit, LaLanne is trim and strong. He’s living proof that
diet and exercise
are the keys to a long, healthy life.
Why is exercise so important
as we age? After 50, we begin to loose muscle mass at the
6 percent every decade (about 5 pounds) and we gain 15 pounds of fat
ten years to replace it. Less muscle and more fat stores in
combined with inactivity and poor diet, can contribute to a wide array
of degenerative conditions and disabilities, among them: osteoporosis,
heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and osteoarthritis.
speculate that Alzheimer’s disease and certain cancers can
also be linked
to a lack of activity as we age.
The Stanford University Medical
Center has conducted several long-term studies on active individuals
50, particularly runners. They found that runners had a lower death
and dramatically less disabilities compared to non-runners. They
that running regularly was associated with an increase of HDL (good)
plus a positive effect on muscle mass, as well as heart and lung
Other studies have concluded
that regular exercise increases bone strength, controls weight gain,
keeps diabetes in check. Active seniors are better able to
of themselves, perform common household tasks, and remain mentally
5 Parts of a Healthy-Aging
brisk walking, biking, aerobics, tennis, (a minimum recommendation of
minutes a day)
weight lifting, uphill training (walking, running, hiking up an
pre- and after workout stretches retain flexibility. Try yoga and
a balance ball for core exercises or stand on one foot without
reduce stress with yoga and tai chi.
5 Keys to Exercise Success:
Dream big and set realistic
goals. If you’re not use to exercise don't try to run a
away. Create a step-by-step plan to increase your stamina, strength and
stability. Too much, too soon can end up causing injuries.
work up to your dream achievement, such as participating in the Senior
Olympics or climbing Pikes Peak.
Exercise daily. Create
your own special time for exercise every day. Whether it’s a
through the neighborhood, a mid-day walk with the dog or an afternoon
at your local gym, daily exercise is much more effective at reaping
benefits than the “weekend warrior” approach.
Exports recommend 25-30 minutes
of moderate to strenuous exercise every day just to maintain your
weight. If you are trying to loose weight, extend your workout time to
Be aware of your body.
If you feel soreness or a slight achy feeling in your muscles,
Your body is responding to a good workout. Use ice therapy to ease
aches and pains, and to reduce inflammation. A few 20-minute sessions
a cold pack and you should be ready for your next daily workout. Never
use heat on stressed or strained muscles, as it will increase pain and
swelling, slowing recovery time. Heat is appropriate to relax tight
If you experience serious problems such as extreme pain, fainting,
in arms or legs, or chest pain, seek medical attention
Stay well hydrated. Always
a consideration for any athlete, dehydration can pose a serious problem
in older athletes as aging bodies contain less body water. Sweating and
exposure to heat can easily deplete the body of fluids. Drink plenty of
liquids before, during and after your workout.
Be a health leader! Encourage
others through example and participation. Be positive and motivated. An
enthusiastic attitude is contagious! It will also keep you
running through puddles on a rainy day; surviving aching legs on a
descent; or arriving at the finish line of your first race!
Keep in mind the words of
90-year old Jack LaLanne, “I work at living, not
Disclaimer: This information
is not intended as a substitute for professional medical treatment or
Always consult with your physician in the event of a serious
Roach is the editor
of on-line health and fitness newsletter, NewsFlash*SnowPack,
She has been instrumental in the development of SnowPack, a patented
therapy that exhibits the same qualities as ice. Her injury
and treatment articles have been published on numerous health and
websites. Louise is 47 years old, an avid hiker, exercise enthusiast
recent running convert. For more information visit: