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Study Reveals It's Never Too Late to Start Exercising

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

health benefits of exercise for seniors

Story at-a-glance -

  • Research shows untrained individuals in their 70s and 80s have the same capacity to build muscle as lifelong athletes of the same age, proving it’s never too late to get fitter
  • Without resistance training, your muscles will atrophy and lose mass. Sarcopenia (age-related loss of muscle mass) affects 10% to 25% of seniors under the age of 70 and up to half of those over the age of 80
  • If you do nothing to prevent sarcopenia, you can expect to lose about 15% of your muscle mass between your 30s and your 80s
  • Other benefits of resistance training include improved walking ability and ability to perform daily tasks, relief from joint pain, improved blood sugar control, improved brain health and slowed brain aging
  • Blood flow restriction training may be an ideal muscle-strengthening strategy for most people, but especially for the elderly and the untrained, as it requires just a fraction of the weight you’d typically use in conventional resistance training

Exercise is clearly a foundational aspect of optimal health, and the good news is that it's never too late to start, even if you've never exercised before and/or are older. Studies have repeatedly shown even the elderly can make significant headway when taking up a fitness routine, and recent research adds further support to this notion.

The study, undertaken by researchers at the University of Birmingham in England, pitted lifelong athletes in their 70s and 80s against men of the same age who had never participated in a structured fitness program.


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