Exercise at 65 and Beyond

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Aging is characterized by increasing muscle loss, physical inactivity and frailty. Physical inactivity is known to be associated with increased incidence of obesity and many life-threatening chronic conditions. We know that exercise, through many factors including antiinflammatory effects and enhanced fitness, can help prevent and treat many chronic diseases as well as help maintain independent living. We set out to demonstrate the utility of regular exercise in this potentially vulnerable age group in both the treatment and prevention of chronic diseases. The benefits, risks and recommendations for physical activity are discussed with an emphasis on practical advice for safe exercise in the context of established international guidelines. These guidelines typically state that 150 min per week of moderate aerobic intensity exercise should be achieved with some additional whole-body strength training and balance work. Individual risk assessment should be undertaken in a way to enable safe exercise participation to achieve maximum benefit with minimum risk. The risk assessment, subsequent advice and prescription for exercise should be personalized to reflect individual fitness and functional levels as well as patient safety. Newer and potentially exciting benefits of exercise are discussed in the areas of neuroscience and inflammation where data are suggesting positive effects of exercise in maintaining memory and cognition as well as having beneficial antiinflammatory effects.

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