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Many Seniors Lose Fitness Due to Lack of Training, Not Just Aging

Seniors make quick improvements when they start exercise

By

Updated June 25, 2014

Seniors build fitness with weightlifting

Seniors build fitness with weightlifting

(c) E. Quinn
We all probably know of at least one senior citizen who seems to defy the laws of aging and remains in top physical shape well beyond their peers. We also tend to dismiss this person as genetically gifted or just unusual. However, research, and more and more seniors, are showing us that this doesn’t have to be the case. Many of the declines in fitness with age are due to lack of use, not just the normal aging process.

While it's true that as we age we have to work harder than we did when we were young, a lot of the declines that we attribute to aging may be reversed with fitness training.

Over the past two years, Senior Journal.com has published the following headlines and research findings about benefits for senior fitness training:

Study confirms earlier finds on value of weight exercise, calcium citrate
Researchers have once again looked at the Bone Estrogen Strength Training (BEST) Study at The University of Arizona; a landmark study on how strength training affects changes in bone density in postmenopausal women. The most recent study confirms the findings that a specific regimen of weight-bearing and resistance exercises, combined with calcium citrate supplement over four years, provided significant improvement in bone mineral density (BMD) at key skeletal sites, whether or not the women were on hormone therapy (HT).

Exercise Improves Skin Healing in Elderly.
A common complaint by senior citizens is how much longer it takes for injuries and wounds to heal as we get older. The body’s ability to heal even small skin wounds is one of those things that slows as we age. A new study, however, finds that regular exercise by older adults may speed up the wound-healing process by as much as 25 percent.

Stress reduction and diet also cited as helping memory
A study released today says senior citizens can not only improve their aging bodies with exercise but that by adding memory exercises to their routine they can also preserve their memory.

Exercise Improves Quality of Life for Seniors
A new study has found that previously sedentary senior citizens who incorporated exercise into their lifestyles not only improved physical function, but experienced psychological benefits as well.

Exercise helps prevent Alzheimer’s
A new study published today adds to the growing evidence that exercise – particularly if it starts early and is maintained over time - is beneficial in preventing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The new study focused on the physical activity levels of older people when they were middle aged and concludes being physically active in midlife can significantly decrease the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Developing Good Balance is Critical Element of Healthy Aging
Balance has less to do with strength and everything to do with an elderly person's ability to get around and live independently. Yet, few people in their later years think to practice balancing -- until it's too late. A study at Indiana University Bloomington has produced a balance improvement program that can be done at home.

Exercise, Healthy Diet May Prevent Teeth Loss
Senior citizens and baby boomers are pounded with advice saying that with exercise and a healthy diet their mental and physical health is substantially improved. Now, a new study says that even oral health is better. The exercise-and-eat-right lifestyle, the study says, can reduce periodontal disease, the main cause of loss of teeth.

Older Senior Citizens Who Don’t Exercise Can Face Problems Even Walking
Even for older senior citizen, lack of exercise increases the risk of future problems with climbing stairs or even walking, according to research published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Strength Training Is an Antidote to Muscle Loss In Elderly
Resistance or "strength" training has repeatedly been shown to be a safe and effective method of reversing sarcopenia, or muscle loss, in the elderly. The condition actually starts around age 45, when muscle mass begins to decline at a rate of about 1 percent per year. Scientists funded by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) have been studying the factors involved in gradual muscle loss since 1988.

Boomers, Young Seniors Can Extend Life With Minimal Exercise
A new study gives people in their 50s and 60s another reason to get off the couch and be physically active — especially if they have conditions or habits that endanger their hearts, like diabetes, high blood pressure or smoking.

Elderly Women Should Worry More About Exercise Than Weight
Elderly women should worry more about exercising than about controlling their weight in order to prevent their physical decline, according to a study done at the University of Pittsburgh and recently published in Preventive Medicine.

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