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Health Concerns

Exercise Enhancement

Life Extension Suggestions

Muscles and Aging

As humans age, our muscles atrophy and weaken (i.e., sarcopenia), regardless of exercise regimen or lifestyle (Bross 1999). The muscles become smaller and less elastic, and muscle injuries become more common (Bross 1999; Baumgartner 1998). The ability to recover from injuries also decreases, as does tolerance for exercise.

Our senior years are a good time to exercise, as it improves quality of life. Sarcopenia, even in severe cases, can be reversed through strength training (Aniansson 1981; Frontera 1992). Exercise has also been shown to control body weight (very important in preventing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension) and strengthen bones. It is important for older people to engage in regular, low to moderate exercise rather than strenuous activity (Martini 1995).

What You Have Learned So Far

  • Exercise results in weight reduction, enhanced physical and mental status, reduced risk of illnesses, and extended life.
  • Metabolism is the process of breaking down food for use as energy.
  • During muscle contraction, ATP is used for energy. ATP stores are replenished by creatine phosphate, while glucose continues to generate new ATP from both aerobic and anaerobic metabolism.
  • Aerobic activity improves cardiovascular function and results in weight loss. Strength training (resistance training) uses weights to build muscle from repeated, increased resistance.