The Fountain of Youth lies in Exercise! Last weekend, I attended the NZ Association of Musculoskeletal Medicine scientific meeting. The theme for the gathering was “Busted Boomers” – which sounds a bit dire but actually the common thread was that so many problems in later life are preventable. It’s all about what we do throughout our lives, including as very young children that will broadly determine our quality of life into retirement.
Exercise is good for us, we know this. But we now have concrete evidence that we can establish good bone density in childhood which will benefit later in life. The peak ages which seem to benefit are around puberty and a Canadian study has shown that getting primary school age children to do 5 jumps, 3 times a day significantly improves their bone health into adulthood – so get your kids active! We also know that exercise is good for our brain. As children it helps with brain development and as adults exercise maintains brain function and cognition.
Maintaining muscle mass is also important into out later years for function and balance. Weight bearing exercise is good for bone density, muscle mass and balance. Some specific strength training is really useful too using resistance bands or hand weights. These exercises are useful at all ages and although some older people are concerned about weight training, there is no need as all exercise programs can be tailored to the individual.
Osteopaths are trained to individualise exercise programs for all ages.