“The more we do sport, the more life expectancy increases,” recalls this doctor, a former high-level athlete.

“The more we do sport, the more life expectancy increases,” recalls this doctor, a former high-level athlete.

How healthy are these seniors! If in the west of the Paris region, life expectancy is above the regional average, particularly among women, sports practice is undoubtedly not unrelated. This is confirmed by Doctor Patrick Lefoulon, general practitioner in Mantes-la-Jolie (Yvelines) and former medalist at the 1984 Olympic Games.

Is practicing at an old age really reasonable?

Patrick Lefoulon: But of course ! Physical activity is a guarantee of longevity. The more we practice, the more life expectancy increases. It is an excellent remedy to protect your cardiovascular system and maintain flexibility. It’s very good for the joints. In addition, sport promotes the mental health of our elders thanks to the coordination of movements, the meetings it allows…

Could you recommend it to your patients?

Yes. We must encourage our seniors to be physically active. Walking, swimming, gymnastics… are perfect for them. I believe in the preventive virtues of sport. In my office, I see athletes less. Obviously, you have to adapt it to your age and your abilities.

Are abilities different at this age?

Of course. We lose strength and tone. Endurance and resistance are not the same. Limits are crossed more quickly. But I would tell you that this loss of abilities begins at the age of 20!

Practicing judo or boxing is not without risk…

Once again, the practice must be adapted. We are obviously not going to get into a boxing or judo fight with younger people. We avoid violent blows and falls. But I admire this lady who continues martial arts at 90 years old.

Is there an increased risk of fracture due to osteoporosis?

This is indeed an element to take into account. Bones are more fragile at 90 than at 20, that’s for sure. But it has been shown that the bones of those who continue the sport are generally stronger. Particularly because the activity promotes the production of bone cells.

And the heart?

Once again, you must adapt your activity to your abilities, be careful and know how to have fun without hurting yourself. You have to listen to your body. Generally speaking, athletes know where their limits are. For example, it is said that to know your maximum heart rate, you must calculate 220 minus your age.

Should we be regular in practice?

As far as possible, yes. You should never stop. If we stop, recovery will be more difficult.

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