Prolonging Life in Older Adult Populations

The American Heart Association and Nintendo are forming a partnership to show consumers that active play Nintendo games can count as one’s fitness program. This is the same organization that recommends walking and gardening as an acceptable substitute for physical activity which I believe is just plain ridiculous.

Walking, gardening and playing Nintendo Wii games with your grand kids will not prolong your life. This type of exercising is not acceptable and will not benefit you at all. Exercise capacity is the strongest predictor of mortality end of story. Not necessarily how long you can go but how hard you can go and how fast you can recover is your true fitness and best predictor of mortality.

Numerous studies have shown including the most recent one published in the New England Journal of Medicine that those whose heart rates raised the least during exercise (less than 90 beats per minute) were six times more likely to die than those whose heart rates were over 130 beats per minute during exercise.

One of the best types of equipment for the older adult population is the Airdyne exercise bikes. These bikes will challenge your upper and lower body at the same time and have zero impact on your joints. These bikes are also great for those who have hip and knee replacements due to the minimal muscular and skeletal disruption. How do you know how hard should you be going? A good rule of thumb is that you should be having difficulty carrying on a conversation while you’re exercising. This pace is called your lactate threshold, and you want to spend as much time in this zone as possible with bouts of easy efforts in between.

It really doesn’t matter what age you are, you are never too old to start challenging your cardiovascular system and improve your heart function. Although high intensity training is safe before engaging in any exercise program or physical activity it is always a good idea to check with your primary care physician to see if your heart is healthy enough. The bottom line is that light exercise will not prolong you life and you need to start doing more as far a challenging yourself on a daily basis.

Jordan Nichols