Friday, August 31, 2018

Fit For Life: In Your 80s & 90s

Your body changes with each passing year - and your workout program should, too. "Fitness is a marathon" says trainer Billy Anderson. It's the accumulation of fitness over time that matters. Focusing on strength, coordination, cardiovascular fitness and mobility is vital at every age. Today I continue a series of blogs offering insights on what it takes to stay fit in each decade of life.

In Your 80s, 90s and Beyond (Mary, this is for you!)


By this point nearly everyone has aches and pains from previous injuries, arthritis or chronic overuse. You might be tempted to believe you're too old to work out - and, that rest is the best. But too much rest may do more harm than good. Bed rest has been shown to be associated with loss of strength, bone loss, joint disease and high blood pressure. It is one reason falls are a danger for people over 80: the resulting injuries may heal but the health complications from staying in bed for weeks can be irreversible. Rest when you're sick or injured - but get up and move as much as you're able as soon as you're able.

The best way to avoid falling may be regular workouts. A 2016 study showed that exercise can reduce fall frequency by nearly 40 percent. Another study showed that only a few weeks of strength training doubled the power of 85 year olds and reduced the need for walkers and wheelchairs. Exercise also reduces the likelihood of cognitive decline. Your mind and body continue to derive considerable benefits from regular workouts right up to and including the tenth decade.

The key to exercise in this decade is the same as it was in your 20s: find an enjoyable activity that challenges you without risking injury. This might be the time to substitute cycling for running, swimming for jumping, and machine-based strength training for free weights. Remember that your muscles, joints and bones remain adaptable. If you exercise consistently, an activity that you thought was impossible months ago may become possible again.

In your 80s and 90s, rest wisely but move often, strength train to prevent falls, and choose challenging but safe movement.

Stay Active (in your 80s & beyond), Keep Moving and
Enjoy Your Food

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