It is possible to stay physically fit, even a competitor, well into your 90’s? Yes, it is and the French amateur cyclist and world-record holder Robert Marchand just proved that. He is 105 years old and has a higher level of aerobic fitness than most 50-year-olds. Scientists are intrigued and are studying the science behind this centenarian. While most seniors don’t aspire to setting world records of any type, this story proves that physical fitness can be achieved at any age and that it can significantly improve aging.
Even the “oldest old”, those aged 85+, can benefit from regular exercise. Strength training with light weights and daily walking can fight osteoporosis and help to maintain balance. The Journal of Gerontology details how staying physically can improve muscular strength, endurance, and flexibility. Those also improve the ability to perform the tasks of daily living. “For example, strength training can result in substantial improvements in muscle size and strength in elderly men and women. In addition, strength training improves balance and gait speed in very old and frail nursing home residents, improves bone health, and decreases many of the risk factors for a bone fracture. Exercise programs for elderly adults can delay age-induced impairments in mobility.”
Some examples of beneficial exercises include:
- Walking will improve leg muscle strength.
- Lifting light weights will improve bone health and overall muscle strength.
- Swimming and light exercises in a pool improve overall joint health.
- Yoga for seniors will improve core strength and balance, which can help to prevent falls.