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The Princeton Longevity Center Medical News

Tip # 3-Get Off the Treadmill

The fact is, most of us exercise the wrong way. 

Visit most health clubs and what do you see?  Those in their 20’s are hitting the weight machines trying to look buffed on the beach.  Those in their 50’s are on the treadmills and stair-masters running for their lives, trying to get their heart rates up. 

One of the hallmarks of the aging process is the loss of muscle mass.  The average American loses ½-1 pound of muscle per year.  By age 65, many of us have lost half the muscle mass we had at age 25.  It’s your muscle mass that gets you up out of the chair, climbs the stairs, keeps you from falling and prevents you from getting frail.  Low muscle mass contributes to developing diabetes and hypertension.  It can even increase your risk of some cancers and heart disease.

Fitness research shows that aerobic exercise is important in the first third of life.  As you reach your 40’s, resistance exercise to build muscle becomes increasingly important and should be at least one-third of your exercise.  By the time you reach your 50’s, muscle building exercises, such as free weights or lifting, should be at least half your exercise.  In the 60’s and beyond, you should probably be working more on building or maintaining muscle than worrying about your aerobic fitness.

After age 60, it becomes increasingly difficult to rebuild lost muscle mass.  So if you are looking forward to trekking in the Himalayas in your 70’s or spending time on the golf course at 75, the time to build that muscle mass is now.  Hit your 60’s with as high a reserve of muscle mass as possible so you can coast through your 70’s and 80’s. 

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