Tips for Aging Well

Story by Maura Oprisko, photo provided

man exercising

Researchers from the Department of Health and Kinesiology at Purdue University are working to gain insights into exactly how different activities can lengthen a life span.

Chad Carroll, assistant professor, works toward the development of effective treatments for tendon problems. His research has found that exercise can improve muscle and tendon health.

Tim Gavin, professor and head of the department, is a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine who studies musculoskeletal health and aging.

Here Carroll and Gavin share their tips for aging well by using one of the greatest medicines — exercise.

Embrace exercise throughout life.

Gavin says, “You can’t ‘store up’ when you’re young and think that’s going to help when you’re older. It doesn’t.” The earlier you start and the longer you continue, the better benefits you’ll see.

Carroll says a sedentary lifestyle affects the tendons, and exercise throughout one’s life will alleviate those problems. “There are some things that are exacerbated by (it), for example: obesity, diabetes. Those things are actually predisposing risk factors for rupture or tendon pain or poor healing.”

woman exercising

Get motivated by what you like, because you haven’t missed your window.

Walk the dog. Ride bikes with your kids. An active lifestyle has benefits beyond just the muscles: cognitive function, blood vessel health and tendon sustainability, to name a few.

“Everything is easier for someone who exercises regularly,” Gavin says. “So, it’s never too late. But if you could start ‘never’ now, that would be ideal.”

Get creative throughout your day because “some is better than none.”

Gavin recommends thinking on the fly — what can I do to make this activity more active? Stand up more often if you sit at a computer all day. Take a walk during lunch. Because, he says, “some is better than none,” but “more is better than some.” 

Exercise five days a week, even if you’ve been fairly active throughout the day.

Carroll says, “There’s a push to have more steps, but having more sustained bouts of moderate- to vigorous-intensity exercise (is where you’ll see the most benefits).”

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