Did you know that functional fitness is one of the major factors in our ability to maintain our independence and quality of life as we age? Why is functional fitness so crucial? It affects our ability to safely and easily perform activities of daily living or participate in leisure activities.
As we age, we experience a progressive decline in function due to loss of muscle mass, bone strength and flexibility. Couple that with a sedentary lifestyle and the everyday tasks we could once do with ease, for example, climbing stairs, carrying groceries, reaching up to the cupboard, become difficult. That decline may also affect your ability to participate in activities or events that add to your quality of life.
So, if we’re experiencing these functional declines, are they permanent? Do we have to resign ourselves to living with these declines? Not according to research findings.
Exercise Can Help Reverse Functional Losses.
Several landmark studies published in the 1990’s showed that functional fitness can be improved in older adults with exercise. A study by Harvard and Tufts researchers showed that participants – nursing home residents aged 72 to 98 – reversed many functional losses with a regular exercise regimen. Another, the MacArthur Study on Aging in America, found that people in their 70’s and 80’s could become more physically fit. This was true even they’d never exercised before.
A study released in 2019 by the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom also showed it’s never too late to start exercising. It found that older adults who had never exercised had the same ability to build muscle mass as master athletes of a similar age.
Ok, so the evidence is clear, exercise can help improve functional fitness. But for many older adults the question is, “How can I exercise?” Especially those who are deconditioned, experiencing orthopedic or mobility issues or living with a chronic health condition.
The answer is on a NuStep recumbent cross trainer. Here’s why. NuSteps are easy to access and easy to use. As such, they can accommodate users of virtually all ages, fitness levels and functional abilities.
NuStep Cross Trainers Help Improve Functional Fitness.
Because the NuStep cross trainer provides a low-impact, total-body cardio and strength workout from a secure seated position, it is extremely effective in functional training.
With regular NuStep workouts, older adults can build muscle strength, increase cardiovascular endurance and improve balance and mobility. All of these are vital for performing activities of daily living, remaining independent and enjoying life.
In addition to increasing functional fitness, regular exercise provides of host of physical, mental and cognitive benefits. It can contribute to an improved sense of well-being and quality of life. All the more reason to wake up those muscles and put them to work. There’s still a lot of living to do!