Has anyone ever told you to “act your age?” Here’s some good news: when it comes to fitness, age really doesn’t matter. Need proof? A news story last week reported that actress Jane Fonda (76) and fitness guru Richard Simmons (64) have released exercise DVDs and teach workout classes.
“This means that people in that age group, and even older, can – and should - exercise,” says Jason Kozma, owner and personal trainer at Santa Monica Personal Training. “There is a lot of evidence pointing to numerous benefits of physical fitness for midlifers, baby boomers, and seniors.”
That is a timely message, since May marks National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, which focuses on the important role physical activity plays – at any age - in our health, quality of life, and longevity.
Whatever age-related ailment you can think of, chances are regular exercise can help prevent it, or at least reduce its severity. “Arthritis, Alzheimer’s, osteoporosis, not to mention heart disease, cancer and diabetes, can all benefit from physical activity,” Kozma notes. “Not only that, but being fit and active can also prevent disability and loss of function many people are at risk of as they get older.” In fact, a study published earlier this month in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society reports that physically active older adults experience significantly fewer functional limitations than their more sedentary peers.
And since May is also designated as Arthritis Awareness Month and National Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month – both conditions impacting mostly older adults – it is a good time to remember how beneficial exercise can be in preventing or managing both these conditions. “Remember that it’s never too late (or too early) to start exercising,” Kozma says. “It’s just a matter of getting your physician’s okay, and then starting slowly and gently as you gradually build up your intensity to the level that’s comfortable for you. Exercising with an experienced trainer will ensure that your workout is safe and effective.”
Kozma recommends including these workouts in your regular routine:
Strength training: With age, our muscle mass declines and the body becomes weaker. However, resistance training will not only build up muscle mass and keep the body strong, but also help prevent bone density loss that occurs in osteoporosis. Balance and flexibility exercises will improve stability and coordination, keeping you from falling down and sustaining serious injuries - a big problem among older people. It will also increase your range of motion, decrease muscular tension, and strengthen your joints, tendons and ligaments – all of which will go a long way in preventing or relieving the pain and discomfort of arthritis. Cardio training will ensure not only a healthy heart, but also – of particular concern to older people – a healthy, alert brain. Numerous studies have shown that, while boosting our cognitive abilities, exercise also significantly reduces the risk of developing Alzheimer’s, dementia and other related conditions.
About Santa Monica Personal Training:
Launched by fitness expert Mr. America Jason Kozma in April 1997, Santa Monica Personal Training is a co-ed personal training fitness program which specializes in the areas of body transformations and next level training. Program details and client testimonials are available at www.smpersonaltraining.com.