It's been said, turned into memes, and seems like acceptable common knowledge that “It's all downhill after 40.” Everything starts to hurt or ache, but studies now point to exercise as yet another solution for things that ail the body.
Dr. Nils Niederstrasser published the findings of his study on the associations between pain and physical activity among older adults in January of this year. The study found the most vigorous levels of activity were linked to participants experiencing a reduced risk of musculoskeletal pain. On the opposite end of the activity, the sedentary was equated to a higher likelihood of chronic pain. In simpler terms, bumping up your workout can minimize age-related pain for adults over 50. Dr. Niederstrasser looked at chronic pain in participants of the study as well as their levels of exercise ranging from mild to moderate to vigorous. It didn’t take long for the big picture to emerge and that is that prevention and relief from pain can be accomplished through regular exercise with some to most of it falling under the vigorous category.
Vigorous exercise is not just a simple solution. There are some other layers to this study that help with chronic pain. To get the maximum impact and results for pain relief and prevention, the exercise has to have consistency and regularity. Dr. Niederstrasser believes that the link between physical activity and lessened pain can be connected to several other benefits to exercise. It is common knowledge that exercise has endless benefits for the mind and body. Some of the variables and benefits Niederstrasser believes are that vigorous physical activity improves health, creates better muscle function, and keeps weight within a healthy margin. In addition, higher bone density and decreased risk of falls are a result of higher levels of exercise.
Even if you are not an overly active person with exercise, benefits from even mild or moderate activity can have an impact on lowered pain risk. The biggest key is not to remain sedentary. In a study on pain, Ruixue Zhaoyang connected lessened physical activity to levels of pain. The study, proportionately linked sedentary lifestyles with ongoing chronic pain for older adults. It is a circle that will perpetuate. Pain leads to lessened activity and lessened activity will exacerbate pain levels. The decision to remain inactive can lower pain tolerance, physical abilities, and general health.
Don’t retire in the recliner, instead rev up your routine.
Exercise that uses weight resistance is needed to help musculoskeletal pain and as we age maintaining muscle mass requires more work especially for the population over age 60 when compared to the amount of weight younger adults will need to lift to maintain their muscle mass.
The good news is that even if you have not led an active lifestyle with vigorous workouts, starting now even after the age of 50 will give the benefits of a healthier life, lower the risk of falls and breaks, and help with chronic pain.
Ultimately there is no reason you shouldn't be exercising in some shape or form.
For those that have crossed the threshold to middle age and worry that it's all downhill from here, that doesn't have to be the case. It's never too late to start an exercise and workout routine. The Journal of Clinical Medicine found that muscle mass in older women can be maintained and not diminish further even when the participants did not start exercising until middle age. If you are ready to rev up your routine and avoid the pain cycle of settling into the recliner, then reach out to the fitness experts at Liftology today. They will create a custom fitness plan catered to help you achieve your fitness goals.