Exercise can ward off chronic disease and help you maintain your independence and mobility. But the older we get in the United States, the less active we are, according to a study published Sept. 16, 2016, in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Researchers analyzed data from a 2014 national health survey, focusing on adults ages 50 or older. Over all, about 28% of those people had not exercised in a month. But inactivity increased with age: non-exercisers amounted to about 25% of people ages 50 to 64, about 27% of people 65 to 74, and about 35% of people 75 or older, the Harvard Health Blog reported.
The good news? “It’s never too late to become physically active! We have research studies showing that changing from being inactive to active—whether occurring in your 40s, 50s, 60s, or even 70s—is beneficial for health,” says Dr. I-Min Lee, a Harvard Medical School professor. Aim for 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity activity, such as brisk walking. If you’re unable to meet that goal, remember that any physical activity will provide health benefits, so do what you can manage based on your ability and your doctor’s advice.
Since this is a blog post, I would like to make it more personal. I wrote about sarcopenia back in August. Don’t know the term? The Mayo Clinic Blog said, “It is a simple fact. As we age we lose muscle and strength. There’s even a medical term for this — sarcopenia. It’s derived from the Greek words “sarcos” (flesh) and “penia” (lack of).
“Estimates of how much muscle is lost with age vary from 8 percent to about 50 percent of our muscles. Men seem to lose muscle faster than women. Strength is lost more rapidly than muscle.”
In case you missed it, here is what WebMD had to say, ““Physically inactive people can lose as much as 3% to 5% of their muscle mass each decade after age 30. Even if you are active, you’ll still have some muscle loss.
“There’s no test or specific level of muscle mass that will diagnose sarcopenia. Any loss of muscle matters because it lessens strength and mobility. (My emphasis)
“Sarcopenia typically happens faster around age 75. But it may also speed up as early as 65 or as late as 80. It’s a factor in frailty and the likelihood of falls and fractures in older adults.”
I concluded the post be recounting that at the age of 76 I had discovered I could only do four pushups and no chin ups. So, I started doing one or the other on a daily basis. Six months later, I was up to 40 pushups and 10 chinups. It is never too late to start, folks! Get moving!