Exercise routines must be modified as we age

Professor Kishore Mahbubani's health predicament ("Mahbubani undergoes double heart bypass"; Sunday) highlights an area of human health and fitness that is least understood.

There are enough advances in the science of growing old to tell us that, in physical exercise, there is no one-size-fits-all approach.

This is especially so for the different age groups.

What is good for those aged below 30 can be detrimental for those above 50.

As it is, most exercises such as jogging, cycling and brisk walking concentrate on the lower limbs, neglecting the upper half of the body.

For those below 30, the body can still cope and adjust, but for those above 50, exercise-induced blood and energy flows, aggravated by gravity, have difficulty nourishing the upper body with oxygen and nutrients.

Over time, consequences surface, such as in the case of Prof Mahbubani.

No doubt, his jogging gave him powerful legs, but these cannot convert into similar benefits for the arteries and heart.

To maintain our health and fitness, we have to find workouts to address these drawbacks.

Norman Wee Sin Chuan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 08, 2016, with the headline 'Exercise routines must be modified as we age'. Print Edition | Subscribe