As demographic aging continues in Japan, the number of very elderly individuals aged 75 years or older is increasing rapidly, as is the number of bedridden, elderly individuals, with ramifications extending to economic problems such as health care costs and insurance for long-term care. Consequently, there is a great importance to questions of how to prevent age-related loss of muscle (sarcopenia) to prevent bedridden states, and further to improve quality of life (QOL) and maintain active lifestyles. Exercise is the most effective means for preventing and addressing sarcopenia. Regular exercise is also reported to prevent progression of arteriosclerosis, prevent lifestyle diseases, and delay onset of dementia. However, the effects of exercise are known to differ substantially for different types of exercise. Regular walking and other aerobic exercise improves cardiovascular endurance, but among the elderly, loss of muscular strength, muscular atrophy, and other diminished physical functions have implications for falling and fractures, and it is not uncommon to see a consequent aggravation of disuse syndrome due to inactivity, leading to a bedridden state. In this light, strength training is also important for elderly individuals, to increase muscular strength and muscle mass. It is also highly important for elderly individuals to eat a diet, particularly amino acids, that enhances the effects of exercise. Here we present an overview of aerobic exercise, resistance training, and “kaatsu training” (i.e., training under pressure-restricted blood flow to the extremities) representing anti-aging exercise methods. We likewise discuss the importance of diet for exercise.
2011 Japanese Society of Anti-Aging Medicine