Over all my years, 67 now, I’ve watched as people age themselves. Yes, watched as people decreased their life span, worsened their health, committed suicide on the installment plan. And while doing this they thought they were enjoying life. Having fun. No thought for their future or for their children.
Well the news is, you can slow down the aging process. You can reverse a lot of the damage already done. You can improve at any age. I’m going to do a few articles on this very subject, so if you care…read, learn and do. First let’s look at a few findings.
In a March14, 2004, New England Journal of Medicine. A study found that men and women with the greatest capacity for exercise live the longest. This finding suggest that exercise capacity is a better predictor of longevity than any other marker. Dr. Walter Bortz, a Stanford University professor, suggests that leg strength is the best predictor of whether a person can live independently.
The following list includes information and facts regarding physical inactivity.
- Inactivity and poor diet cause at least 300,000 deaths a year in the United States.
- Adults who are less active are at greater risk of dying of heart disease and developing diabetes, colon cancer, and high blood pressure.
- More than sixty percent of U.S. adults do not engage in the recommended amount of activity.
- Approximately forty percent of U.S. adults are not active at all.
- Physical inactivity is more common among older adults than it is among younger adults.
- Inactivity increases with age. By age 75, about one in three men and one in two women engage in no physical activity.
- Regular physical activity has a strong correlation to social support from family and friends.
- People with disabilities are less likely to engage in regular moderate physical activity, than people with no physical disabilities; yet they have similar needs to promote health and prevent lifestyle-related disease. Science supports the idea that exercise can slow down the aging process, and researchers continue to be persuaded that fitness for older adults is a must:
- We now know that heart disease is the result of an unhealthy lifestyle and not a factor of aging. You can have a heart attack at any age. Some experts on aging believe that total bed rest for 21 days is equivalent physically to 30 years of aging. Some scientists suggest that one hour of exercise increases life by one hour. More and more evidence supports the fact that chronological age has very little to do with aging and that your physiological age is the better predictor of your aging. It is never too late to turn back the time clock.
- Dr. Herbert DeVries is convinced that men and women in their seventies and eighties can achieve levels of vigor usually associated with people thirty years younger.
- Dr. Steven Blair, of the Institute for Aerobic Research in Dallas, found that as much as one and one-half of all functional decline typically associated with aging is the result of disease and can be reversed with proper exercise.
- Dr. Walter Bortz, author and professor, said, “Our aging is in our own hands. It is no one else’s responsibility. If we depend on our doctors, our families, our government, we risk compromising the quality of our lives.” If we take charge of our lives we can ensure that our future years are creative and radiantly alive.
- Dr. Spirduso believes that older adults who stay engaged physically, socially, and mentally age better than those who do not.
- Dr. Fries, of Stanford University, believes that older people can age well with grace and wisdom, wit and experience, energy and vitality.
- The bottom line is that it is never too late to feel great!
“We are under-exercised as a nation. We look instead of play. We ride instead of walk. Our existence deprives us of the minimum of physical activity essential for a healthy living.”
—John F. Kennedy
Based on recent findings, a growing number of researchers believe that with healthy lifestyles we may be able to set back the biological clock or at least slow it by as much as forty years. We need to accept the fact that the saying “use it or lose it” has real meaning if you want to maintain physical and emotional independence. Unsuccessful aging is the result of abuse, disuse, and misuse of our bodies. We are all aware that aging results in changes in each body system. These changes may contribute to a variety of health problems experienced by the older individual. However, many of the major disabilities associated with aging, such as loss of cardiovascular fitness, decrease of muscle mass, reduced bone mass, glucose intolerance, diminished immune function, and intellectual function loss, can be reversed or prevented by becoming involved in a regular and prudent comprehensive exercise program and better eating habits. Active people age at a rate of only ½ percent a year, as opposed to inactive people who age at a rate of 2 percent a year. While that does not sound like much, in reality, it takes an active person four years to age the same amount as an inactive person does in one year! According to gerontologist John Rowe, M.D., “The impact of chronological aging has been overemphasized and a substantial portion of the physical changes we consider natural to aging are actually due to lack of exercise, poor diet, and bad habits such as smoking and excessive drinking.” A growing number of researchers believe that with healthy lifestyles we may be able to set back the biological clock or at least slow it by as much as forty years. If you listed all the changes in the human body that are ascribed to aging (changes in muscles, bones, brain, cholesterol, blood pressure, sleep habits, sexual performance, and psychological inventory) and then compared the list to changes that occur in the human body due to physical inactivity, there would be a striking similarity between the two lists. The near duplication of these lists shows that many of the bodily changes we have always ascribed to the normal aging process are in fact caused by disuse of the body.
U.S. Surgeon Generals have estimated that close to 85 percent of our most dreaded diseases could be prevented with appropriate lifestyle changes. Exercise will allow people to not only survive, but to thrive! Age is no excuse for infirmity!
Here at BAER Fit, we want everyone to be able to do what they want to do in life. Retiring does not mean dying! We have been involved in training people of all ages to be healthier for 30 years. I, Charles Baerman, am 67 years old and have never flunked my physical. My numbers are always right on. My wife Kimberley Baerman, is 60 years old and walks our dogs daily 3-5 miles, workouts 3-4 times a week and looks 15 years younger than she is and is VERY healthy. Pat M. is 80 years old. Trains twice a week here at BAER Fit, runs a ranch and raises horses. She is busy seven days a week. Jack H. is 80 years old and trains twice a week here. He also volunteers for many organizations and his church, rides his bike 20-40 miles a week, cooks all his own food and is very healthy. Nancy S. is 80 years old and trains here at BAER Fit. She also travels, bird watches, go to her rec center a couple times a week and bike rides 15-20 miles each week. I can go on and on, but the flip side of the coin I also see. People 50 and YOUNGER, that cannot keep up with the older people who have been active. They prefer to overeat, eat processed foods, skip workouts and their cardio consists of browsing the shopping centers at best. 30-year old’s that cannot keep up with 70-year old’s!
Yes, you can change your life…at any age. That means start now.
The Top Ten Benefits of Exercise for Older Adults
- Maintenance of a high level of physical and social activity increases the quality of life, enhancing social satisfaction.
- Increased independence is enjoyed when fitness and health are maintained. Most Americans fear infirmity and dependence more than death.
- A person has more energy and can perform daily routines with greater ease.
- Increased muscle tone and flexibility improve balance, decreasing falls.
- The more muscle tissue a person maintains, the higher his metabolism, making it easier to control weight.
- Calories burned through exercise allow a person to rake in more nutrients.
- Exercise delays loss of bone mass.
- Posture improves, decreasing backache and enhancing appearance.
- Cardio-respiratory function is enhanced, improving peripheral circulation and decreasing risk of atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, and other circulatory problems.
- Using it keeps you from losing it!
Charles Baerman PhD, CFT, CSFN, CET