What a coincidence, I happen to be turning 50 in few days so this is a pertinent concern to me. In fact I have been working on a program called “Training in the Second Half”.
There is no single group that can benefit more from exercise then the middle aged to elderly.
Weakening of the muscles and decline of the cardiovascular system was once believed to be an irreversible consequence of aging is no longer considered true. Studies have show that older people who exercise have the same absolute rate of strength gain and cardiovascular improvement as younger people. There is also conclusive evidence that exercise helps prevent osteoporosis. Bone is constantly being formed throughout life and exercise stimulates this event. Weight control becomes more difficult because metabolic rate lowers as we age but increased muscular activity through cardiovascular movement and strength training improves metabolic rate. This also plays an important role in controlling obesity and adult-onset diabetes which is now affecting 20% of the population in the United States and is a major cause of disability and death among the elderly.
It’s never too late to start exercising, even after reaching or passing middle age. Unfortunately, most people embrace age-related decline as inevitable, or are unlikely to change bad habits through excuses. The former is a lack of information, while the latter is a poor window to potential health consequences. This does not need be the case! It’s an exciting thing to know that we used to think problems such as reduced cardiovascular and respiratory function, muscle wasting, and bone loss were just a natural part of aging, but its clear now that these problems are actually a result of inactivity.