Why it's never too late to start exercising
Fitness instructor Fran Tabor leads a men's group exercise class at the Senior Resource Center in Wilmington, N.C. Wednesday, April 18, 2012. (AP Photo/The Star-News, Mike Spencer)
Published Monday, September 30, 2013 12:01PM EDT
A small study of nonagenarians shows that it’s never too late to start exercising.
After putting a small group of seniors aged 91 to 96 on a strength training program, researchers from the University of Navarre in Spain found that after only 12 weeks, participants showed significant improvement in their balance, reduced their chances of falling, increased walking speed and showed a better capacity for getting out of their chairs.
About half of the 24 participants were put on an exercise program that involved strength training and balance exercises two days a week and were measured against the other half, who served as a control group.
The results of the study were published in the journal Age of the American Ageing Association.
Physical inactivity among the elderly leads to muscle atrophy and decreased cardiovascular and respiratory capacities, reducing their mobility and independence.
People lose 30 per cent of their muscle strength between the ages of 50 and 70.
Experts who authored a similar study out of the University of Michigan in 2011 recommend starting with simple exercises that make use of their own body weight such as squats, modified push-ups, lying hip bridges and tai chi, pilates or yoga.