Age is No Excuse to be Out of Shape
Men and woman can achieve in their 70s and 80s levels of vigor seen on people 30 years younger. This means that, assuming there are no underlying disorders, exercise can make an 85 year-old as strong
as a 55 year-old person. Regular participation in physical activity can raise the fitness level of a 64 year-old to an average, sedentary 30 year-old. Some people beleive in magic pills to be forever young. Maybe they want the easy way, but reality has demonstrated over and over that exercise is the closest thing to the fountain of youth. People crossing the 100 year-old limit, when studied, have stated that physical activities has been a constant in their lives.
One time I remember being in a park I used to go to workout. I would normally go to the gym but sometimes I just wanted to change and will hit the chin-dips station of a random park. Anyways, I was there with a couple of friends. All of a sudden, I noticed a particular guy working out in front of me. He was short, maybe 5’4”. Strong wide back and arms. His face looked old but fine, he could be 54 at max based on my logical calculations. The thing is I started talking to him about random things when we hit training topics. In the middle of a fluid back and forth conversation he stops me: “How old do you think I am?”, he says. “55″, was my response. To which he replied: “No my friend, I am 74″. I couldn’t believe it. One thing is to see a 50 year-old look in their late 30′s early 40′s and another is a 74 to look like a guy that could easily say 49 and you would buy it. When he saw my face, he told me: “I have been working out for 50 years”.
In 1980, Americans older than 65 years old of age was approximately 25 million. Researchers predict that by the year 2030 that number will grow to over 63 million. Currently the fastest growing segment of the population in the United States is the age group of 85 years and older. If you are getting older, why would you like to get weaker just because you are supposed to?
In 1984, Dr. Bortz, co-chairman of the American Medical Association’s Task Force on Aging and past president of the American Geriatrics Society, took all the information he had gathered over many years and compiled them in a review paper titled “Disuse and Aging” for the Journal of the American Medical Association. Bortz concluded that if you recorded a list of all the changes in the human body that are atributted to aging and then compiled a similar list of changes due to physical inactivity, you would notice a striking similarity between the two.
When I finished high school, 20 years later we had a reunion with past school friends. I have always loved to exercise. Therefore, always been strong and look young for my age. When we arrived to the meeting, I was surprised by how old a lot of my friends looked. Some blamed it on becoming a father and a working person… sorry friends, the reality is: laziness plus sedentarism plus lots of calories. Add 20-30 years more and you will have a very destroy 60-70 year-old body.
Changes associated with both aging and inactivity include changes in muscles, bones, brain, cholesterol, blood pressure, sleep habits, sexual performance, physiological inventory an so forth. The near duplication of the lists demonstrates that many of the bodily changes we have always attributed to the normal aging process may be really caused by disuse. It is imperative that as an older adult, you understand this fact and take action. It could be hard to start but once you are on a routine, you will benefit immensely.
Don’t forget, your body is the instrument you use to move trough life. Keep it in shape and you will be able to enjoy it more for longer.
Surgeon’s Advice | Leon Mead MD Orthopedic Doctor | 730 Goodlette Road North, Suite 201 Naples Florida 34102 | Phone: (239) 262-1119