Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Mid-lifers who want to be active in their 70s, 80s should be hitting the gym now

By Helen Branswell

TORONTO - No one likes to think about getting old and we generally don't do much to prepare for it. But the truth of the matter is that if you are lucky enough to live into your 70s, 80s and beyond, your fitness level is going to decline.

Some of it comes down to unstoppable biology. But how much and how fast you lose muscle, bone, flexibility and aerobic capacity is also influenced by your individual fitness level going into older age.  So if you want to be sprightly in your 70s, you need to be working out in your 40s, 50s and 60s, experts say.

Put another way: If you don't pay into your fitness bank in middle age, you won't have much to draw on later. And while you may not mind being too out of shape to go for a run when you are 55, you probably will care if you can't pull yourself out of a bathtub at 75.

"I think you are on a slippery slope. Or another analogy would be you're getting closer to the edge of the cliff," says Dr. Paul Oh, medical director of the cardiovascular prevention and rehabilitation program at Toronto Rehab, a hospital in the University Health Network.

"We need to be thinking about prevention all along, but particularly as we hit our middle years."
In your teens, 20s and 30s, for most people working out is about looking and feeling good, managing stress and keeping weight in check. But later in life, maintaining muscle is critical for independent and active living. In other words, we need to do it to be able to perform myriad functions we all take for granted — until we can no longer do them with ease. Read More http://www.calgaryherald.com

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