Positive evidence linking exercise programs to slowing down aging

Positive evidence linking sport and exercise programs to slowing down aging process——-Research Review

The number of aging Americans is growing both in size and in proportion of the total population. Almost 40 million adults are 65 or older and nine out of every 10 suffer from degenerative diseases of the old age. One in four of the total adult population is functionally limited because of an aging phenomenon. Medical and economic experts are calling inactivity due to aging a national health crisis. Experts predict that chronic pain and degenerative diseases would be an epidemic in near future.

The interaction of physical activity, exercise, and physical fitness with health

and biologic aging is complex and multifaceted, but there is general acknowledgment of its importance to major public health outcomes (American College of Sports Medicine, Pollock M, Gaesser G, et al. ACSM). Exercise can help in reducing the pain and many symptoms of other diseases in old age. It is well established fact that good exercise and sports can induce many beneficial effects on many physiological and mental parameters in aging adults.

The physical changes with aging — decreases in muscle and bone mass — are exactly the same as those found with people subjected to imposed inactivity”

said Phil Page, a physical therapist and co-author of the Active Aging Toolkit.

What we often view as normal physical changes associated with aging may be the result of inactivity more than the advance of years. If we can reverse the physical changes that occur when inactivity is imposed, which we can do with exercise, then we may be able to reverse or slow those physical changes associated with aging, also.

According to the researchers, depression will be the leading cause of aging and disability in the adults. Psychological well-being is very important to optimal aging.

There is no known treatment superior to sports and exercise program for curing depression or other mental disorders of old age. Blumenthal et al [114] compared the effects of antidepressants with aerobics in older adults and found a very positive effect of exercise on his patients.



Exercise prescriptions are going to have to become like drug prescriptions

said James Rimmer, Ph.D., director of the National Center on Physical Activity and Disability, a Blueprint Partners Project member organization.

The big question today is not if exercise is important, but how do we get people to do it and sustain a program? That’s the goal of the Active Aging Toolkit. By providing physicians and patients with precise, clinically- tested doses of exercises that produce specific known results, we hope they will come to view exercise as medicine to be prescribed as regularly as any other drug that may be used to treat chronic diseases.

Aging is a reality we all have to face in our lives but with some exercise and sports in our daily routine, we can grow gracefully and productive.


American College of Sports Medicine, Pollock M, Gaesser G, et al. ACSM Position Stand on the recommended quantity and quality of exercise for developing and maintaining cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness, and flexibility in healthy adults. Med Sci Sports Exerc 1998;30(6): 975 – 91.

Mazzeo R, Cavanaugh P, Evans W, et al. Exercise and physical activity for older adults. Med Sci Sports Exerc 1998;30(6):992 – 1008.

Bortz WM. Redefining human aging. J Am Geriatr Soc 1989;37(11):1092 – 6


Author:  Dr Rubina Mushtaq

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