According to Harvard University, one of the key lifestyle factors of longevity, is regular exercise. You have heard the benefits of exercise before, but let’s spell them out for you: decreases risk of chronic disease (hight blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis), decreases blood pressure, decreases anxiety, and improves sleep. Strength training specifically helps improve muscular strength and bone density, which naturally decreases as we age.
What about function and longevity?
Aside from all the amazing benefits, regular exercise can help keep you your independence and function later on in life. Have you watched a family member need assistance from a walking device or from a caretaker? Have you seen your parents have difficulty bending over to tie their shoe, or pick something up from the floor?
Regular exercise with the intention of functional movement is why I have clients who are 30-90+ years old working with me. Working on strength training especially will give you all the benefits I mentioned in the last paragraph, but what about the ability to carry your groceries into your house by yourself? Or the confidence to get out of your house and go to a new place because you trust yourself to perform the stairs without needing assistance? Or being able to hold your grandkids without fear of dropping them because of strength? These are the benefits no one is talking about, and they are equally or if not more important the others mentioned. Being able to do as much for yourself later on in life gives us sense of purpose.
Is it too late?
It is truly never too late to get started. The earlier you start, the sooner your health improves, you get stronger, maybe your blood pressure decreases and you can get rid of the medication you were taking. But, it is never too late to start. I started working with a client who was 95 years old, who had several falls which is why he was coming to physical therapy. He learned how to navigate the community with his rollator, be able to walk around his house without his device, pick objects up from the floor safely, and significantly improved his balance. This changed his quality of life completely. He didn’t have to rely completely on others for everything he needed, he gain independence and confidence.
No matter your age, health status, or experience with exercise, right now is the best time to start investing your time, and money into your health. We are not experts in everything, just like you may need an accountant for your taxes, you may need a coach to guide you through to teach you how to stick with health and fitness for the long term.
I am currently accepting new physical therapy and personal training clients for in person or virtual services. Email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or sign up for a complimentary consultation to get started.