When you think of senior citizens, what typically comes to mind? Frailty? Health problems? The inability to safely do routine tasks? Many of these characteristics may ring true for your loved ones or for the geriatric population as a whole, but new research published in the Journal of Physiology is shedding light on what it means to age as well as how one can avoid many of the health concerns that typically go hand-in-hand with ageing. In fact, this new study is finding that the most active adults in their 70s are as fit as those in their 50s!
Common ideas about aging typically involve a correlation between one’s age and their decline in health and physical aptitude. But this new research aimed to target those who participate in exercise – specifically, cycling – to see whether or not retaining one’s activity levels had an impact on their health as they age. The team picked super-fit amateur cyclists between 55 and 79 and tested a wide range of physical functions commonly associated with ageing:
- Aerobic Fitness
- Resting Heart Rate
- Skeletal Mass
- Breathing Ability
- Muscle Density
While their initial goal was to find certain physiological markers that could reliably be used to determine age, they instead found that active cyclists in both age groups were hard to distinguish from one another. These results are of utmost importance, signifying that a retention in physical activity seems to have a significant impact on one’s health over time. While aerobic activity doesn’t halt the aging process, these results seem to show that you may, in fact, be able to buy yourself a few extra years of health through regular physical activity.
Jane Tadman at medical research charity Arthritis Research UK said “The findings of this study back up our own research in the fact that many symptoms associated with ageing such as frailty are caused by being physically inactive. So many of our population are now living well into their 70s and 80s, and that should be a cause for celebration.”
While many ageing adults may find themselves doddling in retirement, there are many more who remain in the workforce, making it of utmost importance to managers to put forth the effort towards their employee’s physical activity and retention of health. With our Corporate Health and Fitness Programs, HSG offers a wide range of corporate health classes and fitness programs that can be included in your workplace wellness program.