Australia is a little slower to pick up the baton, however currently in the USA older Americans are flocking to their local gyms and to the local pool to participate in aerobic and weight training programs. Should our
older citizens be concerned about the benefits of exercise in later life? “Absolutely!” says Kennith Cooper (the inventor of aerobics).
As our bodies age we lose muscle mass and tissue which affects our strength and in time our ability to get around and live independently. With less strength we find it difficult to walk which increases our risk of falls that result in injury. The following statistics from the USA are rather frightening, of 215,000 people who suffer hip fractures each year, half over the age of 65 die within the first year. As we become less mobile we become more susceptible to secondary illness such as respiratory disease. This makes recovery even more difficult.
Some other interesting stats: from 20 to 70 our bodies lose approximately 30% of muscle tissue. This loss can affect our ability to contract muscles with enough force to accomplish everyday routine such as climbing
stairs and lifting groceries.
Our metabolism at age 20 starts to decrease by 2% every 10 years. To avoid obesity in later life we need 100 fewer calories a day with each passing decade. Obesity increases our odds for chronic disease such as hypertension, heart disease, some cancers and diabetes.
The good news however is remaining muscle tissue can be built up through continuing to exercise which results in more vigour and stamina throughout life. Regular exercise increases our ability to burn more caloriestherefore being less likely to gain excess weight.