Dr. Gray's Straight Talk

Honest and blunt healthcare discussion and advice.

Are You Too Old To Exercise?

Posted by Dr. Gray on Monday, May 18, 2009

How do I say this…? NO! Absolutely not! Are you crazy? I saw a research paper a few years ago that detailed the activities and health history of centenarians (people 100 years old or older). They had black, white, asian, male, female, European, American, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, thin, heavy (only a couple of these), recent, historical, etc.

Want to know what the only thing they all had in common?

They all walked regularly!

That’s right. Walking. Something that seems so simple, yet is so profound in its health benefits. Now, I’m not so naive to think that walking was the only thing these people were doing, however, that was the one thing they all had in common. Most participated in other forms of exercise, watched their diet, and efficiently dealt with stress, but their lifestyles, backgrounds, and ethnicities varied across the board. Physical activity was the only common denominator.

How many times have you seen an older person who’s still active, busy, driving, and looks healthy… and then seen another person who was significantly younger who looked like they were on death’s door? Why do you think the older, healthier person is still able to do so much while the younger was so limited? Due to hundreds of studies and experiments, we know it’s the exercise, activity, and healthy lifestyle, but I think there’s more to it than that. I think one of the biggest contributing factors is willpower. Willpower is the ability to exert one’s will over one’s actions. In other words, the ability to be decisive, determined, and persistent. Older people who remain active and vibrant are not perfect… they are not completely without pain or disease… they don’t feel great everyday… but they do have the willpower to get up and keep going regardless of how they feel.

You’re never too old to live healthy. Changes in diet and the addition of exercise into your lifestyle can make significant differences to your health and overall wellness. In a study published in the Journal of Aging and Health and conducted at the University of South Florida School of Aging, Professor Ross Andel and co-researcher Robert Simons, executive director of the Bonsai Holistic Spa and Wellness Center in Largo, Florida, demonstrated a noticeable increase in body strength, flexibility, balance and agility in study participants. The 64 volunteers, ranging in age from 66 to 96, were divided into a walking group, a resistance training group and a control group that did not exercise. In the training group, warm-ups, stretching and flexibility exercises were followed by workouts on resistance training equipment.

The walking and resistance training groups both benefited from the study, suggesting that physical activity can offset physical declines that come with aging and preserve functionality among seniors. Your doctor of chiropractic can tell you more about the benefits of consistent exercise and help outline a program suitable to your needs.

Reference: Simons R, Andel R. The effects of resistance training and walking on functional fitness in advanced old age. Journal of Aging and Health 2006;18(1):91-105.


One Response to “Are You Too Old To Exercise?”

  1. Dr. Gray, this is an awesome blog. I already put up a link to this site on my blogroll. When you have the chance, I would love it if you would check out The Chiropractic Ensign (www.drshiraki.squarespace.com). I’m a CCC-KC grad like you, got out of there in 1998. Hope to get to know you and perhaps someday you could write a guest post for my blog! Thanks, man! And keep up the great work!

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