Maintain the Benefits of Exercise As You Age

No surprise, the natural process of aging forces baby boomers and seniors to work harder at exercise to achieve the same benefits as younger people. Older folks can close that gap, however, with an ongoing exercise program, according to a new study comparing sedentary seniors with a similar group of twenty- and thirtysomethings.

A patient's exercise capacity declines as he or she ages, not only due to an aging cardiovascular system, but because it's harder for older bodies to send oxygen to their muscles. Scientists found this condition is reversible, and it happens largely due to inactivity.

At the start of the study, older patients needed 20 percent more oxygen to walk at the same pace as younger ones. What closed to gap between the two groups: Older patients participating in regular 90-minute sessions three days a week for six months. And, even though young patients had more oxygen and blood pumping to their muscles, older folks demonstrated greater gains in exercise efficiency.

More evidence, patients and doctors should be treating exercise like a drug that needs to be precisely prescribed to get the maximum benefit.

Folks, the hardest part of exercise isn't doing it: It's getting started. That why I've urge you to review my beginner's exercise page and some of the excellent articles I've posted by Paul Chek and Ben Lerner to get moving today.

Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Vol. 47, No. 5, March 7, 2006: 1049-1057

Yahoo News March 16, 2006

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