Life Long Sport
Like all good CrossFitters, you know that physical activity and exercise are good for you. In fact, being physically active on a regular basis is one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself. Studies have shown that exercise provides many health benefits as individuals age and that older adults can gain a lot by staying physically active. The frail health and loss of function we associate with aging, such as difficulty walking long distances, climbing stairs, or carrying groceries, is in large part due to physical inactivity. When it comes to our muscles and physical fitness, the old adage applies: “Use it or lose it.”
Check out these illustrations of that highlight the importance of lifelong physical activity!!! These are cross sections of the quadriceps region. Not only is the muscle mass impressive between the sedentary and triathlete, but also look at the difference in bone density.
Laura McIntyre, Physiotherapist, explains that maximum strength capacity reaches a peak sometime around the 2nd or 3rd decade of life and by the fifth decade begins a gradual decline. The good news is that 20 weeks of resistance training in older adults can result in a 1 kg increase in lean body mass. This is in contrast to a 0.18 kg annual decline that often occurs with a sedentary lifestyle beyond 50 years of age. Remarkably it is never too late to improve muscle function. Significant strength adaptations have been shown in subjects aged 85 to 97.
The great news is it’s never too late to become physically active. No one is too old to enjoy the benefits of regular physical activity. In fact, older Americans have more to gain than younger people by becoming more active. Older people are at higher risk for the health problems that being active can prevent. In addition, physical activity can be an important part of managing problems that might already be present, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or elevated cholesterol. Finally, physical activity can improve the ability to function well and remain independent in spite of health problems. Few factors contribute as much to successful aging as having a physically active lifestyle.