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Tuesday, 08 January 2019 19:53

Reversing the Effects of Ageing

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There are only two certainties in our life, and aging is one of them. There is no way to avoid it but there are ways to slow it down or delay some of the nasties that come with age.  However, there is one miracle cure that can slow and prevent aging, and that is exercise. As we age there are a myriad of changes that occur to our body and mind some of them include:

  1. Changes to our cardiovascular system:

    • As we age the most common thing to occur in our hearts is stiffening of our blood vessels, meaning your heart must work harder to pump blood. This means that you are at a higher risk of having a heart attack or high blood pressure. 

  2. Changes to our cognition 

    • Contrary to popular belief dementia is part of healthy aging, however it can become an issue when its happens too early or too severely. 

  3. Changes to muscle mass

    • Sarcopenia is a condition which causes gradual muscle wastage as we age. It is something that we can not inherently avoid without actively seeking preventative measures.

  4. Changes to our balance 

    • As we age, we become more unsteady on our feet leading to an increased risk of falls. 

  5. Changes to bone mass 

    • In women after menopause, the reduction in eostrogen leads to a drastic decline in bone mineral density; making the bone more brittle. 

Yet all is not doom and gloom! You can delay or even prevent of all the above with regular exercise. According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) participating in 150-300minutes of easy to moderate exercise per week we can combat all of the above. Easy to moderate exercise includes briskly walking the dog, leaving the car at home and walking to public transport and joining a recreational sports team.

A recent study conducted by the University of Birmingham in 2018 looked at groups of elderly individuals who participated in regular physical activities and compared to their peers, they exhibited an immune system and cholesterol levels of a younger person. 

To be honest, most of this is common knowledge, but to practice it in a practical and safe manner requires knowledge and expertise. If you have decided to embark on your fitness journey for the first time, or if you have started but keep getting injured, it is best to consult your movement specialist, whether it is a physiotherapist or an exercise physiologist.