If Excercise Were A Pill
If exercise were a pill, it would be the most widely prescribed medication in the world! You name it- exercise fixes it!
The reasons or indications for exercise also varies for each person, but the common denominator is that we are all humans who tend to naturally lose strength with age. The rate of muscle loss with age is ~1% per year. After age 50, muscle loss increases up to 2% per year. A study in 2002 showed a loss of 30% of a person’s reserve capacity will limit them from functioning normally, and a 70% loss results in failure to physically function at all. This leaves us only a 40% window between loss of function, such as not being able to walk; and failure, meaning not being able to even get out of bed! But not all exercises are created equally.
Exercise varies in type, intensity, frequency, duration, speed, repetitions, sets, position, type of resistance, goals, progression…the list goes on.
In general, aerobic exercise will keep you alive (extend your quantity of life), while strengthening exercises will keep you functional (extend your quality of life). The choice is up to you as to where on the slippery slope of physical ability you would like to be: having fun (vigorous), functioning (strong), frail (weak), or failing (barely alive).
You can and should leave the technical details of how to assess where you are and how to get where you want to be to the experts- your physical therapists! We would be happy to perform a functional strength assessment on anyone that seems to not be having fun in life due to lack of vigor!
-John K. Koniuto, PT, DPT, FMT-C, CEO