After the age of 25, inactive men and women lose one per cent of their cardio, strength, balance and flexibility every year. “It doesn’t take long to do the math and see that as we get closer to middle age, we’re functioning at half the potential we had when we were younger.” The only way to curb that is through exercise.
A growing body of research is showing the relationship between activity and better health outcomes for older people, says Clara Fitzgerald, director of the Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging at Western University
“More and more we’re seeing the value of physical activity and exercise.” Activity is not going to reverse the clock, but it will help the body function at a much younger age.” Fitzgerald says.
The guidelines say that people over 65 should do 150 minutes of cardio weekly, in 10-minute bursts if need be. To glean the benefits, the intensity must be moderate to vigorous. Strength training twice a week is also key. The most recent stats show that among those aged 60-79, only 12 per cent of men and women meet those guidelines
“It has to become a habit,” Fitzgerald says. “How many days can you go without eating? Sleep? You either need to make time for your health or you need to make time for illness.”