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Why We Need Fitness as We Age: Part I

POSTED BY: David C. Cassidy MED.,ATC/L.,CSCS

Once in a while you walk into the gym and see a person working out, and you do a double take.  You see an elderly person working out and you are amazed at the shape and tone of the individual. You begin to think, that is amazing. 

The fact is that many seniors could be in that kind of shape if they would only commitment themselves to ongoing exercise.  Seniors can make quick improvements when they start exercising. Many of the declines in fitness with age are due to lack of use, not just the normal aging process.  It's true that as we age we have to work harder than we did when we were young to get the same results.  We also see that the declines we attribute to aging may be reversed with fitness training.

Over the past two years, some fascinating research has found these benefits to fitness:

Strengthens Bone and Density-  A regimen of weight-bearing and resistance exercises, combined with calcium citrate supplements , provided significant improvement in bone mineral density, whether or not the post-menopausal women were on hormone therapy (HT).  The message is clear.  With weight-bearing, resistance exercises we build stronger bones and resist fractures.

Improves Skin Healing in Elderly- A common complaint by senior citizens is how much longer it takes for injuries and wounds to heal as we get older. The body’s ability to heal even small skin wounds does slow with age. A study, however, found that regular exercise by older adults may speed up the wound-healing process by as much as 25 percent.

Reduces Stress and Helps with Memory- There has been a lot of attention lately on memory loss as we age.  A recent study states senior citizens can not only improve their aging bodies with exercise but that by adding memory exercises to their routine they can also preserve their memory.

It is these results and many more that are compelling Florida Hospital’s Winter Park campus, Winter Park Memorial Hospital, to begin to develop the Longevity Institute, a senior-focused, performance-based program that helps direct individuals to an improved and healthier lifestyle.  This program is just beginning in partnership with the Peggy B Crosby YMCA  focused on a comprehensive Medical Fitness Program.  For more information about this FH Medical Fitness program call Lisa Brendon Davis at 407-303-4031 or look us up on our web site.