Physical activity on a regular basis protects against the onset of all major chronic diseases, improves the immune system and slows down age-related changes in the body.
Aging affects everyone
Aging is a physiological and biological process that affects everyone, characterised by a progressive and continuous reduction of the ability of individuals to adapt to the environment. During ageing a series of irreversible physical and psychological changes occur that are not due to illness, resulting in increased susceptibility to the development of diseases.
Physical activity promotes healthy aging
Physical activity can help with easier aging, helping to preserve the state of health, if carried out regularly. Several studies analysing the relationship between risk of early mortality and physical activity have found a lower risk in active people compared to sedentary people. The effects of exercise are visible at any age, meaning there’s always a right time to start adopting an active lifestyle.
Regular activity prevents diseases
Practising regular physical activity is beneficial to reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension, diabetes mellitus, heart disease and stroke; as well as improving the immune system and optimising age-related changes in body composition.
Aging can be classified into three types:
- Type 1 or disease-related aging. In the presence of chronic diseases such as diabetes or hypertension, aging happens faster resulting in a quicker loss of function.
- Type 2 or common aging. This is characterised by normal age-dependent physiological changes.
- Type 3 or successful aging. This is where the physical and mental performance of the person is comparable to younger adults than them.
How aging affects the body
With age, the cardiovascular system becomes less efficient because it reduces the heart's ability to contract and generate strength so more effort is needed. The tissues that form the arteries lose their elasticity leading to stiffness resulting in an increase in blood pressure with an increased risk of suffering a stroke or heart attack.
The bone and muscle mass shrinks. In elderly people, especially in women, bone strength decreases. Muscle mass too. This means that older people find it more difficult to carry out activities and are at greater risk of falls and fractures.
Aging also reduces cognitive functions; memory loss, shorter attention span and psychomotor skills, which contribute to a person’s loss of independence.