How Exercise Can Keep Aging Muscles and Immune Systems ‘Young’ by GRETCHEN REYNOLDS

Published: 2021-07-22 00:05:06
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IntroductionThe well being of the aging population has been one of the major responsibility of the society. There have been efforts to enhance the economic, social and health well being among the elderly. Although tremendous steps have been taken to guarantee good physical and mental health of the aged people, much still needs to be undertaken to ensure that they engage in health lifestyle. Evidence has indicated that good dietary practices and physical activities are vital in reducing the occurrence of chronic illnesses while at the same time, they guarantee enhanced longevity. The paper will analyse an article that stipulated how exercises maintain the immune system and preventing the aging of the muscles, contrary to the common belief that aging leads to weakening of the individuals and promote frailty among the elderly.Overview of the articleAccording to the article, two inspirational studies on older recreational cyclists have proven that remaining physically active as people get old assists in keeping their immune system and muscles strong. The experiments augment the expanding evidence that some of the assumptions that people make regarding aging may be obsolete and that they make have tremendous control of aging than how it is considered and perceived by most of the societies(Reynolds,2018).The article asserts that aging is unvarying and unstoppable as the years pass by equally for each individual. However, the responses of the bodies to time differ tremendously where as most people become weak, few remain agile. It is these differences that compelled a group of scientists from Britain to question whether the commonly held beliefs about what is obvious and normal in regards to physical aging might be incorrect or unlimited and most importantly, whether people have been disregarding the impacts of physical exercises(Reynolds,2018).In the western world, excercise among middle and old age population is a rare undertaken and it is approximated that only 10% of those aged 65 years and above engage in regular workouts. As such, what is considered normal is premised on how old age affects inactive people. Therefore, the british scientists, most of whom are recreational athletes, supposed that physical exercises might have an impact on physical aging and could alter the common belief on exact meaning of normal aging. To prove this belief, the scientists opted to experiment on the impacts of physical exercise and sought a group of older men and women who engaged in physical activities and recruited them from local recreational cyclists. The male and female riders that were recruited were aged between 55 and 79 and had engaged in cycling for decades and covered 400 miles each month. For The study on the risers, which was published in 2014,the scientists measured a wide array of the cognitive and physical abilities of the cyclists and compared them with the inactive old people and those who were much younger. The result indicated that the cyclists had balances, memories, metabolic profile and reflexes that closely resembled the 30 year old individual than those of the inactive elderly(Reynolds,2018).Analysis based on the sociological point of viewThe economic, social, and health well being of the elderly exist within the social structure as they make an important demographic component of the society. Generally, the lifestyles of the elderly have changed tremendously in the past few decades. No longer is social isolation, physical inactivity or cognitive and physical frailty considered as a norm and do not necessarily represent the common lifestyles of the middle and old age populations. Whereas some adults experience varied levels of isolation and frailty, some of which are institutional, for most, they occur only during their last years of life(Depp & Jeste,2006). Therefore, most of the middle aged and the elderly have the potential of leading cognitively, socially and physically active lives into their latter years if they have the requisite opportunities and economic and social support of the community, friends and family. From the findings of the article, physical frailty among the elderly is treatable and preventable ,presenting a new focus for communities when dealing with the challenges of the elderly(Lieberman & Collen,1993).The exercise habits differ on the basis of age, disability, income, gender and ethnicity. Old people in the higher socioeconomic position are highly likely to maintain physical activities at a higher level compared with those from lower socioeconomic position to remain inactive or reduce their intensity of exercises. The difference can be attributed to the availability of opportunities to engage in physical activities, resources especially financial resources needed to pay for the facilities for physical activities, and the family support and hence, those who are affluent can access these factors more easily than those from lower social economic status. Further to this, those in higher socioeconomic groups are likely to be educated with high literacy levels compared to those from lower socioeconomic groups and hence, they have sufficient knowledge on the healthy lifestyle to lead that includes physical exercises, good dietary practices and access to high quality health(Swan,2005).Socio-cultural factors play a crucial role in the lifestyle that the elderly live. Aging is not only a biological process but also a social phenomenon where individuals interact with and are influenced by specific physical, social and cultural environments in which they age. Although the experiences for individuals differ, there are usually common patterns linked to the aging process among individuals born and raised at the same and hence, they are influenced by social and historical events(Lieberman & Collen,1993). In this case, it is worth noting that people age within a social structure that is characterised by unique economic, political, environmental, historical and cultural factors that are manifested at different times, age groups and the state of the life cycle. Further , a range of achieved social attributes such as income and education or ascribed social attributes such as race and gender influence the beliefs and values either inhibiting or enhancing the opportunities to access leisure pursuits. The array of social differentiation systems can facilitate perceived or real inequalities, influencing the lifestyle or life chances of subgroups or individuals in communities(Swan,2005).Basing on the article, it is evident that much needs to be done on enhancing the lifestyle of the elderly, which is vital in enhancing their quality of life and enhanced longevity. In this case, enhanced physical activities through increased exercise has proven to be effective in enhancing their physical and cognitive health. In this case, it is prudent for policy makers, families, communities and other stakeholders to strategize on how they can enhance the physical activities of the elderly and this can be attained by establishing facilities for exercises, raising awareness on the essence of physical activities, offering resources especially financial support for families and communities to enable them support the initiatives aimed at enhancing the lives of the elderly. However, it is prudent to take into account unique cultural and social factors of the individuals and communities when raising awareness and implementing the initiatives that enhance physical activities among the elderly to ensure community support and enable people to understand them effectively for easy implementation(Depp & Jeste,2006).ConclusionThe article offers a new paradigm on how the health and social well being of the elderly should be considered. Physical exercises have been proven to enhance the cognitive and physical health of the elderly and can be instrumental in reducing the challenges faced by the elderly who lead inactive lifestyles. While taking into account the socio-cultural factors, raising awareness, developing facilities and providing requisite resources is vital in encouraging the elderly to engage in physical exercises.ReferencesReynolds,G.(2018). How Exercise Can Keep Aging Muscles and Immune Systems ‘Young’. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/14/well/move/how-exercise-can-keep-aging-muscles-and-immune-systems-young.html?rref=collection%2Ftimestopic%2FElderlyDepp CA & Jeste DV. (2006) Definitions and predictors of successful aging: a comprehensive review of larger quantitative studies. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry 13(1):6–20Lieberman, F., & Collen, M. F. (1993). Aging in good health: A quality lifestyle for the later years. New York: Insight Books.Swan, R. L. (2005). Trends in exercise and health research. Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers.

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