It's important to do the right exercise as you age

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Matt Smith is right and is wrong (“Still Running After All These Years,” July 19 Saturday Diary).

There is no reason older active adults in their late 50s, 60s and older cannot continue to be active. The benefits from exercise are well-known for people of all ages.

As we get older our bodies change. Our joints begin to degenerate. We develop other problems such as diabetes and high blood pressure. In some cases, we can’t think as well.

Exercise can help ameliorate these changes.

However, running puts a lot of strain on knees, according to experts who have studied the effects of running. Runners have stopped running and gone to nonload-bearing exercises like riding bikes because of knee pain.

Many believe knee replacements will be a panacea for bad knees. Not all knee replacements work well. A knee replacement may last for only 15 to 20 years before needing to be replaced again.

Aerobic exercise can help control blood sugars, improve blood pressure and lower bad blood lipids while raising good lipids. These benefits can be gained in a group fitness class such as Spinning or individually by daily brisk walks.

The old saw “no gain without pain” has been shown to be a base canard. Exercising to pain and beyond destroys rather than improves.

Aerobic exercise is one facet of a healthy lifestyle for active older adults. Other facets include resistance training to minimize muscle loss as we age and proper nutrition.

While we all inexorably get older, we have the opportunity to hold back the changes aging brings. It is never too late to go from a sedentary to an active older adult. Just be selective in what you do.

Squirrel Hill

The writer is a certified Spinning instructor.

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