heart image Heart attack image  Unlocking the mystery of aging before our time.

 

 

How Fast Are You Aging?

Aging has its challenges but it beats the alternative...showing up on the obituary page.

You know aging is catching up with you when getting "a little action" means you don't need fiber today. Or an "all-nighter" means not having to get up to pee!

Jokes aside, wouldn't you like to age with vigor and vitality? It is possible! Mental and physical decline is not inevitable as was once believed.

New research however indicates that we can influence the aging process far more than was thought possible just a few years ago.

Dr. Walter Bortz, M.D., Stanford University Geriatrician has conducted a study of aging that has come up with some very interesting data on the true rate of chronological change in human function.

Bortz reviewed the performance of athletes beginning at age 35 and continuing for as many years as they actively competed, in some cases for three decades or longer.

The study showed that a fit person’s physical function declines at a rate of only one-half percent per year from age 35 to 65. The importance of this study becomes clear when we consider that the usual aging decline is 2% for persons who are not active physically.

This annual difference of 1.5% when multiplied by three decades equates to a difference in physical function between a fit 65 year old and a sedentary 65 year old of a whopping 45%! 

“Even 90 year olds can recapture lost vigor with an exercise program,” says Bortz. Tufts University researchers in Boston conducted a study of 100 men and women with an average age of 87 years. About 1/3 of the participants were in their 90’s. They suffered from a variety of illnesses including arthritis, high blood pressure and lung disease.

After only 10 weeks of resistance training, using the Keiser Air leg press and other strength equipment, muscle strength increased by 113% and walking speed improved by 11.8%. The study participants were able to get around more quickly, climb stairs better and some even stored away their walkers! “People have an unduly negative attitude about what can be done,” said the study’s director, Dr. Maria A. Fiatarone. “We need to be more optimistic.”

William Evans PhD., researcher and author, says that,

“Aging is not a static irreversible biological condition of unwavering decrepitude. Rather, it’s a dynamic state that, in most people, can be changed for the better no matter how many years they’ve lived or neglected their body in the past.”

I’ll second the motion. Leo, age 69, who continues to be an inspiration to me, has consented to share how a few months of exercising changed his life.

“I had lost my wife, was on an emotional low and was in terrible physical shape. It was hard to get up out of a chair and I had to force myself to go out and work in the garden. Now I just hop up and go and my energy level is so high I have a hard time quitting.

I’ve lost about 20 pounds, the doctor has cut my blood pressure medication in half and my blood sugar has returned to normal so I was able to get off of the diabetes medicine. I feel great!”

The message is clear. Exercise is the magic pill that slows down the aging clock. Have you taken your dose today?

Gene

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