Exercise and the Elderly
It is normal for some degree of aerobic capacity to be lost along with the aging process. In many people, however, much of that loss is due to declining activity levels rather than physiological change related to age itself. A 70-year-old who exercises regularly may well be in better “shape” than a 35-year-old who is totally sedentary.
Research has shown that even in old age,conditioning can improve cardiovascular endurance,muscle strength, and well-being.
In many communities, this is being acknowledged through programs aimed at offering elderly people the opportunity to exercise in a safe and pleasant manner.
Older people should start at a slower pace and increase the intensity and duration of their exercise more gradually than younger people, and they should select “low-impact” aerobic activities that do not place extra stress on joints (swimming, cycling, or walking, for example). Most important, they should realize that age alone is no barrier to physical fitness, no matter how long a person has been inactive.