Aging and the Importance of Exercise

Many people feel that exercise is only for the young, sexy folks. When people get older past 40 the need to be sexually appealing wanes. When this occurs then the motivation for exercise decreases. Those that stay with the program are usually the ones that know about the benefits of exercise. They exercise more for overall health than for just the bedroom. It is important for everyone to exercise if you want to keep the body working optimally. Yes! people can make it to be one hundred years old without ever exercising a day in their life. However, this is rare and the quality of life is not always good. Exercising throughout life is no guarantee that you will live to be 100 either.  Exercise does provide many benefits throughout life that can help improve quality of life and longevity.  First I will discuss the effects of aging then I will discuss the benefits of exercise on the aging effect.

Aging Effects

Brain: Neuron degeneration. Fewer neurons fire therefore memory is impaired. Synapses are weaker or delayed producing poor proprioceptor activation (balance).  Catecholamines decrease. Reaction time decreases.

Cardiovascular: Arteries occlude, slowing down the blood flow to throughout the body and especially the heart. Shallow lung capacity (decreased Vo2 uptake). Capillaries, blood vessels to the muscles diminish, resulting in smaller muscles. Walls of the arteries and veins weaken. Stroke volume and cardiac output decrease.  Oxygen saturation decreases.

Skin: Decreased protein suspension. Thinning of tissue. Wrinkles, browning spots, and spider veins. Develop. Wounds take longer to heal.  Slow production of platelets.

Eyes: Lens decrease in strength. Retina less sensitive. Pupils react slower to changing light.

Ears: Nerves die making hearing less sensitive. High notes are hard to hear.

Bones / Joints: Calcium decreases, bones become more brittle.  Osteoporosis can develop. Cartilage decreases, in some cases is gone completely. Spinal vertebraes compress and can fuse. Joints become easily dehydrated.

Organs: Lose size and cell number becoming less productive. Stomach becomes more susceptible of developing ulcers.  Digestive system decreases in production of nutrient exchange.  Harder to process fats, protein and carbohydrates.

Metabolism:  Nutrient exchange slows down, increases catabolic effect.

Hormone production: Anabolic hormones (growth hormone, insulin, testosterone) decrease causing muscles to shrink.  Increase in catabolic hormones.

Unfortunately,  there is no cure against aging.  We all are subjected to aging.  The best way to safeguard the  increasing speed of aging is to exercise on a regular basis. Exercise helps keep the body running at optimal speed, slowing down the effects of aging.  The benefits of exercise are numerous. The greatest benefit is the ability to maintain oxygen and hormone levels. Hormone levels drop naturally, but with regular exercise the degradation of hormones is slower.  This means that you can stay stronger and fit longer as you age. The old saying, ” you lose what you don’t use” is true.  You must use your body to reap the benefits of age maintenance.


tags: aging, weight training, Daryl Conant, Vince Gironda, Ron Kosloff, New England Patriots.