Published on: September 12, 2016
by Sunrise Senior Living:
Researchers found that an initial decline in physical fitness often happens in one’s 50s.
With age, you start to lose strength, coordination and balance. That’s normal. But how early are these changes occurring? Most think you won’t notice serious physical decline until your 60s or 70s, but recent research from the Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development at Duke University School of Medicine found it’s happening sooner than you think.
Miriam C. Morey, Ph.D., senior fellow at the Duke center, and other researchers studied a group of 775 people participating in the Measurement to Understand the Reclassification of Disease of Cabarrus/Kannapolis Study. This research, also known as the MURDOCK Study, is a longitudinal clinical study by Duke Health that involves more than 12,000 participants and 460,000 biological specimens.
The MURDOCK Physical Performance Lifespan Study took 775 men and women of multiple races aged 30 to 100 and had them perform tasks that showcased their strength, endurance and balance. The tests included rising from a chair repeatedly for 30 seconds, keeping balance on one leg for a minute and walking around for six minutes.
After everyone completed the tests, researchers found that men and younger participants generally performed better than women and older people. However, they also found that serious physical decline began to appear in both ages and all races of participants in their 50s.
The researchers observed that those men and women specifically found it most difficult to balance on one leg and rise from the chair. Walking around for six minutes was more difficult for participants in their 60’s and 70’s.
The results of this study show there are simple tasks that can be performed to detect problems early on. This research can also encourage you to get at least 150 minutes of moderately-intense aerobic exercise every week, and to keep up with a routine for healthy aging.
“Our research reinforces a life-span approach to maintaining physical ability – don’t wait until you are 80 years old and cannot get out of a chair,” said lead author Katherine S. Hall, Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine at Duke. “People often misinterpret ‘aging’ to mean ‘aged’, and that issues of functional independence aren’t important until later in life. This bias can exist among researchers and healthcare providers, too. The good news is, with proper attention and effort, the ability to function independently can often be preserved with regular exercise.”
What can you do?
There are many ways to improve your physical fitness besides balancing on one foot, lifting from your chair and walking around. Consider creating a routine from the following suggestions by U.S. News and World Report to ensure health aging:
Before starting any new workout regimen, it’s important to meet with your doctor for suggestions that cater to your personal needs.
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