Endure with Endurance Exercise

Slow and reverse the symptoms of aging with endurance activities.


By Sara Vallejo


“Of all the causes which conspire to render the life of a man short and miserable, none have greater influence than the want of proper exercise.” -- Dr. William Buchan, 18th-century Scottish physician

If you’re already starting to feel the little aches and pains that can accompany aging or want to keep as much youthful energy and wellness as possible as you age, the science is clear: get moving and keep moving.

As we age, our bodies change in a number of ways: we begin to lose muscle mass and have more trouble building lean muscle; the loss of muscle mass can put extra strain on joints, leading to arthritis of joints like the knees; we lose bone density which can lead to bones fracturing and breaking more easily--especially in postmenopausal women. Artery and vein walls also begin to harden, raising blood pressure.

These factors combine to slow us down as we age, but many of the changes to our body, most notably in the musculoskeletal system, can be attributed to disuse and inactivity. The growing body of science is actually encouraging. Though we now know more about how the body changes as we age, we also know that we can slow and even reverse some of the physical symptoms of aging.

Along with maintaining a healthy diet (that may include calcium and Vitamin D supplements for women and others with indicators of osteoporosis) and performing strength, flexibility and balance exercises, regularly engaging in endurance exercise can slow the effects of aging on the body.

What is endurance training/exercise?

Also called aerobic exercise, endurance training is any exercise that increases your respiration rate and elevates your heart rate. Endurance activities include walking briskly, running/jogging, swimming, bicycling, and playing sports like tennis, basketball and soccer.

Add endurance exercise to your wellness program

Studies have shown that endurance exercise is the best way to improve cardiovascular function. Regular endurance exercise can lower resting heart rate and keep the heart in optimal working condition (lowering blood pressure), allowing the heart to pump oxygen-rich blood to the body’s tissues.

Regular aerobic exercise may also help lessen the hit our metabolism takes as we age and help us boost HDL cholesterol while lowering levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Endurance-based exercise also boosts mood and improves sleep, and may even help prevent age-related memory loss.

How to start

Before starting any new fitness regimen or making a change to a current program, it is always recommended that you consult with a physician familiar with your medical history. You may even be able to establish baseline numbers for blood pressure, resting heart rate and cholesterol levels--then compare them as you improve your aerobic fitness.

Start slow and don’t expect to complete a triathalon weeks after starting your training. If you haven’t done much aerobic exercise, start with walking instead of running. Listen to your body and progress as you feel comfortable. If you’re already dealing with arthritis or mobility limitations, consider low-impact exercises and some of these tips for staying active with a disability.

Finally, team up and track. Exercising with a few friends can do wonders for keeping you motivating and there’s no harm in engaging in some friendly competition with fitness buddies on apps like Argus! Tracking will also allow you to compare your fitness and health levels as you progress.

So, get moving to stay moving. Endurance exercise is key to maintaining your health, now and as you age.

Sara Vallejo is a self-confessed happiness, health and self-development junkie from Chicago. She writes professionally in a business development and marketing capacity, and as a volunteer for a digital nonprofit. Miss Vallejo is a passionate mental and holistic health advocate who believes that good health is an ongoing journey best undertaken with supportive peers. Sara’s areas of expertise include nutrition, weight loss, women’s health, mental health and disability issues. She is returning to weight loss and fitness following orthopedic surgery and is excited to encourage and inspire fellow Azumio community members and readers to achieve the best health they can.

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