At present, the ageing baby boomers represent one-third of the U.S. population. However, this number is set to rise to 70 million by the year 2030. According to the US Census Bureau, there are five million people over the age of 85 in America today. By 2030, this number will balloon to more than 20 million. Evidently, more and more people are living longer due to better healthcare. However, aging comes with its own set of health challenges such as the loss of skeletal muscle mass, which is one of the well documented changes. As a result of this, the body stamina level experiences a sharp decline it becomes harder for the muscles to generate force. Fitness for baby boomers and beyond enhances muscle mass and body balance. In addition, baby boomers suffer from a wide range of age related ailments. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people over the age of 65 represent one third of US healthcare spending. At the same time, this age group makes up 40% of all annual doctor visits. These statistics show baby boomers cannot take fitness for granted.
Benefits Of Taking Personal Fitness Seriously
Regular exercise is the best weapon you can use to stave off the vagaries of ageing. The following are some of the benefits of following a fitness program.
A Healthier Cardiovascular System
A healthy cardiovascular system enhances proper Maximal oxygen consumption (VO2 max). Research carried out by the American College of Sports Medicine shows aging affects VO2 max. The downward slide starts between the ages of 25-30. VO2 max levels begin to decline by as low as 5% or as high as 15% per decade. This results in a corresponding maximal heart rate decrease ranging from 6-10 beats per minute per decade. Due to the reduced oxygen delivery capability, oxygen utilization also suffers. Exercise ramps up VO2 max by as much as 30 percent. It is important to note low intensity exercises result in minimal changes. It is vital to build your ability to tolerate longer exercise sessions to reap substantial benefits.
Spine tissues deteriorate with ageing. The rate of deterioration is not uniform but varies from individual to individual. One of the most important spinal parts is the intervertebral disc. Aging causes the tissues surrounding the disc to become stiff. This happens after the tissues undergo fibrosis. These changes affect the fluidity of your spine. Exercises that encompass proper spinal hygiene can help improve flexibility. Exercise also improves the overall health of your spinal fluid.
Muscle strength and endurance slows down with age. Muscle strength deceleration is compounded by lack of regular exercise. When this happens, balance and coordination is affected. This leads to frequent falls and inability to carry out daily tasks. About 10% of muscle is lost after 50 years of age. The rate increases to 15% by the age of 60 and 70. By the 80s, muscle loss is usually in the 30% range. Resistance training is one of the most effective ways of combating muscle loss. Strength training is also beneficial. It improves energy metabolism and bone density.
Control Weight Gain
Data published by CDC shows one third of the US population is overweight. This can complicate health issues in the elderly. While dieting programs have been highly publicized, the prognosis is not encouraging. After the initial weight loss, only about 10 to 30% of people manage to stay trim. Exercise offers longer lasting health benefits in addition to shedding unwanted weight. Research published by the International Journal of Obesity shows exercise can help the elderly cut weight. The research focused on a group of more than 5000 men and women over the age of 40. The results were to say the least, astonishing. Every minute spent on the treadmill cut the risk of weight gain by 1.3 pounds. More time spent on the treadmill cut the risk of gaining weight by 14 % in men. In women, the rate dropped by nine percent.
In addition, you will experience improved quality of life. Exercise stimulates the body to release endorphins. These reduce stress, anxiety, and improve self-confidence. Increased mobility, flexibility, and muscle tone will cut down dependence on other people. This makes it easy to indulge in personal hobbies, sports activities, or sightseeing trips.
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