As people age, many assume they are destined to gain weight and get brittle bones. However, if you maintain a healthy diet and incorporate regular physical activity, this does not need to be the case. The average American is extremely inactive. For example, many people use climbing the stairs in their house, parking at the far end of the parking lot, and walking the dog for five minutes outside as their exercise for the day. Sorry to be blunt, but this is just normal daily activities and should not count towards exercise, especially if you have a sedentary office job the rest of the day. Your heart rate should be elevated (due to physical activity) at minimum thirty minutes a day and exercise should be challenging in order to get the most benefit. As you get older, a sedentary lifestyle makes you extremely prone to accelerated muscle loss, weight gain, osteoporosis, depression, and early death, among other harmful effects.
1. National Dairy Council Webinar on 7/23/14: “Aging and Muscle Loss: Too Young to Worry? Think Again!
2. Paddon-Jones et al. 2004; Kortebein et al. 2007
3. Cruz-Jentoft Age Aging 2010;39(4):412-23; Burton et al. Clin Interv Aging. 2010; 5:217-28. Review
4. Roubenoff, 2003
5. The Journals of Gerontology, August, 2012
6. Dr. Gabe Mirkin's Fitness and Health e-Zine, July 24, 2014, http://www.drmirkin.com
7. Picture Source: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2011/06/16/encouraging-seniors-to-lift-weights/