The Ages of Exercise

setisundial

I was doing some continuing education this week for my EP certification. The first course I completed was on Resistance Training for older adults (aged 65 and over). The end of video seminar had a quote by a Dr. Bortz:
Exercise for the young in an option.
Exercise for the old is an imperative.

At first, I really liked those lines! Most of my clients are in that older age group leading me to have the privilege of seeing the benefits of exercise in their lives. I have seen blood pressures lowered and medicines reduced. I have seen the effects of diseases which were essentially death sentences or a guarantee of being bed-ridden in a nursing home (Parkinson’s, MS, etc.) reduced to where they have hope of leading a normal or near-normal life longer than ever hoped.

Then I looked at the line about exercise being an option for the young. The more I thought about that line, the more I disagreed with it.

With everything we know about the treatment benefits of exercise for someone diagnosed with any sort of health concern – cardiac, neuro, respiratory, GI – and the benefits of risk reduction in those who could develop various health concerns, why would exercise not be imperative as, at the very least, a preventative measure for the young?

This exercise, activity, needs to be started as soon as possible.

The second course of con-ed I completed was resistance training and children. To summarize, the majority of children start moving early in life. If they keep moving as they age – progress to sports or other forms of organized activity such as a resistance training program, outside on playgrounds or in their yards and neighborhoods – they have a better chance at staying active throughout the rest of their lives, decreasing their chance of various injuries and disease. They would age stronger decreasing fall risk and maintaining a good quality of life when they are deemed old.

If we stress the importance of exercise in our young now, if we make it imperative now, then we can decrease health costs and concerns for future generations of elders.

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