Physical Exercise & Aging
from birth and
death, aging is perhaps the only experience that EVERY human being
shares. Even so, no one fully understands it. Man has pondered the same
questions throughout history -- What is aging? Why does it happen? Can
we stop it?
everyone does so in different ways and at different rates. Some people
live much longer than average, while others have a much better quality
of life. Gerontology is the study of these differences and the search
for their causes. Scientists want to understand the process and causes
of aging so that they can postpone or even stop the aging process.
words, their goal
is to maximize the quantity of life. At AAHF. we believe in taking that
goal to another level, and also maximizing the quality of life. That is the gift that exercise can give to our aging
Result of Living Longer
the mid 19th century,
the life span in the US has nearly doubled. Most of the increase in
life expectancy is due to declines in death from infectious disease.
Unfortunately, the number of deaths from infectious disease has been
replaced by the number of deaths from degenerative or
that living a long life without health and independence is not what
they’re looking for. So, when we consider that an increasing
number of people are living longer, we must also consider the problems
that are created when the quality of these extended years is poor.
It has been
by the year 2040 the average life expectancy of older people could
increase by 20 years. Some say that by the middle of the 21st century
there could be 16 million people in the US over the age of 85. These
same people say that the average 65 year old will spend 7½
of their remaining 17 years living with some functional disability.
When You Age?
vs. Biological Age
As was touched
it is common to think that physical capacity and performance improve
through the early years, peak at about age 30, and then decline
gradually and steadily until we die. However, each person is unique.
The interaction of many factors, including the aging process and life
experiences, decreases the consistency of performance within
individuals and increases the differences among them across their life
We have all
like the following: “She has aged gracefully”;
has been kind to him”; “She doesn’t look
age”; and “He certainly doesn’t act like
in his 60s.” Obviously, these are meant as compliments and
that the person being referred to is not aging at the expected rate.
The differences found in the functional capacity of older adults are
striking. Some older adults are frail and live in nursing homes, while
others live independently and run marathons.
This type of
indicates that some individuals do not seem as
others of the same age. This has led to the search for a measure of
biological age that is independent of chronological age. Because there
are so many differences that make it hard to define or measure
biological age, however, gerontological experts have never been able to
agree on a set definition.
the Organ Systems
there is no
agreement on a definition for biological age, there are certain changes
in the body that occur universally with age. Let’s look at
changes for each organ system: