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How Old Is "Too Old" To Benefit From Exercise?

Most of the patients I see in my practice suffer from "ED," my term for Exercise Deficiency or Exercise Debt. Close to the two-thirds of the country who are overweight and tens of millions of others with high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes desperately need more exercise to improve their health. But can someone be "too old" to benefit from it?

A group of Canadian researchers found seniors who adopt a regular exercise routine for the first time late in life can still reduce the development of risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

Scientists studied the effect of exercise training on the development of metabolic markers of cardiovascular disease in two groups of healthy but sedentary adults between ages 55-75 over a decade. By the numbers:

  • Active seniors enjoyed a 3.5 percent increase in fitness levels versus a 13.8 percent decrease in the sedentary group.
  • Sedentary seniors demonstrated many more metabolic abnormalities than active patients.
  • More than twice the number of sedentary patients suffered from metabolic syndrome versus active seniors.

Another important recommendation researchers made that I wholeheartedly agree with: The health of older patients would benefit greatly if they were prescribed an exercise regimen by their physicians because they have the most contact with those suffering from cardiovascular disease.

Diabetes Care Vol. 28, March 2005:694-701

Yahoo News March 11, 2005

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