The authors say that no matter how well people take care of themselves, it is not realistic to think that the body can do at 65 what it did at 45 or even 55. However, that does not mean that people should reduce physical activities, they should just need to modify their expectations.

As we age, the article continues, the maximum pumping capacity of our heart declines, resulting in less oxygen to exercising muscles and a decrease in our cardiovascular fitness. The muscles lose some strength and mass and become less flexible, as do the tendons and joints. It takes longer to recover from a muscle strain, sprain, trauma or injury.

However, this is not to say the physical activity should be reduced, the authors stress. It means much more modifying the activities to accommodate change. They give an example: "If you've been a jogger most of your life, you may need to switch to walking to protect your joints. Or if you were a high-intensity aerobics buff, you may need to try low-intensity aerobics, yoga, tai chi or Pilates.” The important goal is to remain fit, the authors explain.

To know if people are fit, the authors suggest a simple test: If moderately intense activities and talking can be performed at the same time, this would be signs of being fit. It would be no matter what your age or where you are on the fitness scale, you can always improve your personal fitness level.

Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource is published monthly to help women enjoy healthier, more productive lives. Revenue from subscriptions is used to support medical research at Mayo Clinic.

MEDICA.de; Source: Mayo Clinic