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Gene MillenGene and Bernie  Millen's  health and wellness program for people over age 50  has been judged
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"It's never too late
to start feelin' great!"

 

Are You Aware of These
Myths of Aging?

One of the myths of aging is that as we move toward middle age it's inevitable that we begin the slippery slide toward decrepitude. 

It doesn’t have to be so. Many myths of aging, including “middle aged spread”, shortness of breath, forgetfulness and loss of strength, are brought on, to a large degree, by inactivity... not old age.  

The good news is that you have a second chance to right the wrongs you’ve committed against your body. You have the power to turn back the hands on your biological clock.

A new study reported by the American Heart Association in their research publication Circulation showed that in only six months you can reverse 30 years of decline in peak oxygen consumption, which is recognized as the "gold standard" of measuring physical fitness. How was this amazing feat accomplished? With consistent, moderate exercise.

John H. Bland, M.D., a professor of rheumatology at the University of Vermont and a competitive cross country skier in the 75-79 age group, has come up with some information that will make the young jocks green with envy.

The fitness level of older adults doesn’t slip away as quickly as it does for younger exercisers.  It takes a while longer for the mature body to reach its peak but it will hold onto this level much longer.

Though researchers don’t know the precise chemical reasons for it, they do know that a young athlete who stops training is going to start slipping in anywhere from one to three weeks, whereas someone over 60 who has to cancel his workouts because of injury or other reasons might not see a dramatic difference for as many as 12 weeks.

The older body also has a few other advantages. We’ve known for sometime that the “mature” brain works better because it has more experiences to draw upon.

Our muscles also get “smarter” as we age. Although they may not get as big from training, they efficiently increase our strength by ”recruiting” more muscle fibers into action. And there’s the same “holding” bonus—if we stop, the conditioning stays with us longer.

There’s more good news. Older exercisers get the same aerobic training effect at a lower percentage of maximum heart rate than younger athletes do. This means that your heart doesn't have to work as hard to accomplish the same amount of work.

Think you are too old to get started exercising? Think again.  A study published in the December 2002 issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society has shown what some of us have known for some time… that people 80 and older who exercise just a couple of times a week can show significant improvement in their fitness level and endurance.

Another myth of aging. "Being 80 years of age or greater does not mean that you cannot benefit from exercise," said Dr. Peter V. Vaitkevicius, who led the research.

In the study, 22 elderly people rode an exercise bike or walked on a treadmill about twice a week for an average of 20 minutes each time. Before starting the program, the participants were sedentary and several had health problems, including coronary artery disease and arthritis.

The size of the improvement, Vaitkevicius said, "was directly related to the time spent exercising." The more people exercised, the more their oxygen consumption improved, he said. Participants in the study also experienced a drop in systolic blood pressure and an increase in endurance during the 6-month exercise program.

Although this study looked only at aerobic exercise, he said that for older and frailer people, the ideal exercise program would also include strength-building exercises, such as weight lifting or resistance training, since the elderly tend to lose large amounts of muscle and strength.

One of the myths of aging is that it is too late to begin an exercise program!

No, it’s never too late to regain the vigor, vitality, muscular strength and endurance you thought were gone forever. But you have to get started. If not now then when?

Gene

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