Physical Activity Keeps You Young

I attended the European College of Sports Sciences conference in Malmo, Sweden, last week. An underlying theme of the conference was successful living and aging through physical activity.

One of my favourite presentations, by Gertrud Pfister from the University of Copenhagen, looked at seniors and physical activity. It was subtitled “Fit, Fun, and Forever Young.” From her perspective, those who remained physically active aged well, meaning they had material security and good physical health. In Denmark, there are programs to keep people active, including running. The most successful programs for older individuals seemed to involve groups to make the activities more social and improve compliance.
The session on learning and memory acquisition has some interesting implications: Intense exercise after learning improves memory of the learned material. Maybe we need to advocate for more physical activity in our schools and support the after-school sports programs for our students.I saw runners everywhere in Malmo and Copenhagen, but what I also noticed were the tremendous number of bicycles and dedicated bike lanes. Bikes in these communities are used for transportation and it seems to work to keep people active. I observed people of all ages riding to work, to stores, and to entertainment venues. Muscle strength, endurance, and physical capacity is a “use it or lose it” proposition, so the advice coming out of the conference was simply to keep active any way you can. 

Subscribe to Runner's World

Previous articleDIY Muesli
Next articleEssential Rules for the Track

Related Articles