by Michael G. Ciccotti, M.D.
Exercise is an activity that takes on a wide variety of forms from throwing a ball to climbing a mountain. It’s an activity that is enjoyed by people of all ages, the young and old alike. There are no limits on size or shape and allows participation at all levels from recreational to amateur and professional.
What is the real advantage of exercising? Certainly there is a tremendous psychological sense of well-being that comes from exercising as well as the social aspects of interacting with other athletic individuals. But what are the true physiological benefits to exercise?
If one sorts through the information available on the lack of exercise or inactivity, several eye opening statistics can be found.
- Recent studies show that skeletal bone loss occurs in both males and females at a rate of 1% per year after the age of 35.
- Muscle loss in both males and females occurs at a rate of 20-40% between the ages of 40 and 65.
- Cardiac function diminishes at a rate of 5-10% per decade between the ages of 25 and 75.
- Inactivity is one of the six major coronary risk factors as identified by the American Medical Association.