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Study says exercise slows the aging process


-By Caela Fenton

Want information on the latest anti-aging therapy? A recent study by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons shows that it might be as simple as lacing up your running shoes.

There is a long-established assumption that as we age, our bodies start to break down – joints are not as limber, bones fracture more easily and fatigue increases. Orthopaedic surgeon and lead author of the study, Dr. Bryan Vogat, questions this assumption, stating that “an increasing amount of evidence demonstrates that we can modulate age-related decline in the musculoskeletal system.” Rather than an inevitable process, he believes that “A lot of the deterioration we see with aging can be attributed to a more sedentary lifestyle instead of aging itself.”

Canadian senior track phenom, Olga Kotelko would seem to be apt proof of Dr. Vogat’s thinking. Likewise, nonagenarian athlete Ida Keeling‘s recent 100m record demonstrates the ability to remain physically active at an extreme age.

After extensive research on elite senior athletes, Vogat and his team developed a list of recommendations for staving off what most of us would currently consider the inevitable aging process. These recommendations include endurance, resistance and flexibility training.

Endurance training, which is considered sustained aerobic exercise, is vital to heart health, prevention of fat accumulation and benefits efficiency with regards to oxygen consumption. According to Vogat, 150-300 minutes of endurance training per week is ideal. Endurance sessions should take place in 10-30 minute sessions for seniors; less intense or shorter duration aerobic sessions were shown to provide limited benefit.

Resistance training, also known as weight training, is critical to the development of protective muscle and bone mass. Those who partake in a weekly resistance training program are less likely to experience the strains, sprains and fractures associated with the aging process.

Flexibility and balance training, though often overlooked by athletes, are essential to keeping the body in top shape. Flexibility training optimizes one’s range of motion and balance training leaves one less susceptible to falls.

Making physical activity a priority and avoiding a sedentary lifestyle is important for those of all ages. Leading an active lifestyle – starting at a young age and continuing as you age – is your best chance at longevity.

Think of it this way – it’s probably cheaper than the latest anti-aging serum, as seen on TV!