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Does exercise affect how we age?

Yes. Unfortunately, aging has become synonymous with degeneration and loss of functional ability, which is a mistake. Typical forms of degeneration associated with aging include osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, low-back pain, and obesity. Despite the normal decline of some functional ability, older adults can and do respond to exercise much in the same manner as healthy younger adults. In fact, exercise can help older adults maintain muscular strength, endurance, flexibility, aerobic fitness, and overall health and wellness.
Sharine Forbes
Geriatric Medicine

It is important to have an exercise regime with different types of exercise as it can help target different muscles and help maintain thickness of muscles along with speed, strength and endurance. For example, exercising regularly can help aid in muscle cell repair which can prove to be very beneficial in sustaining the skeletal system as the amount of muscles cells found in an elder is much smaller then the amount found in a young person. Additionally, exercise helps the space between the muscles remain free of fat and fibrous tissue thus preserving the strength of the muscle.

Exercise training can be beneficial as lifting weights can make muscles thicker in cross-sectional areas. Therefore, an individual should focus on the amount of weight they can lift as opposed to the amount of repetitions they do with each lift, as the strength of a muscle is directly proportional to its lean cross-sectional area. Improving endurance would require much more repittions and less of a focus on how much weight can be lifted as the amount of mitochondria that are present increase in order to produce more ATP and create more energy. Power training would be a combination of endurance and strength training, which can be beneficial in making muscles both thicker and stronger.

The effects of reduced muscle mass on strength are vary from person to person but the most common are bad posture due to a loss of overall strength making it harder to walk and even causing difficulties with pulmonary functions.

Also, lack of exercise can lead to increases in blood pressure and causes in imbalance in the ratio of LDLs to HDLs thus setting the foundation for atherosclerosis. 


Yes. Exercise boosts immunity and helps prevent chronic disease, which can help increase how long we live and improve our quality of life. It is common to see a progressive deterioration of the body's functions as we age. However, this deterioration can be slowed by enhancing our body's ability to function via exercise. Research has shown that exercise can improve the body's function. The heart can be strengthened with aerobic endurance training. Resistance training can improve muscular strength, and balance training can improve coordination and stability helping prevent falls. Engaging in exercise can help you add productive, independent years to your life.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.