“We do not stop exercising because we grow old, we grow old because we stop exercising.” Dr. Kenneth Cooper
Regular physical activity is important for health and well- being throughout our lifecycle. We are all aging, no matter what our chronological age, 25yrs or 75yrs old. How we age is determined by both genetics (1/3) and lifestyle choices (2/3). It is lifestyle choices that make the difference as we age. That means diseases like Alzheimer’s – heart disease don’t start at age 60 or 70, but early in life. Research shows, regardless of age, you can achieve a significantly higher quality of life if you increase your physical activity levels.
Did you know?
Only 21% of men and women ages 25-64 meet the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines. This percentage decreases with age to 14.2% for 65-74y.o and 7.1% for 75yrs and older.
Several recent publications describing National and International Physical Activity Guidelines from The Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines , 2011; The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2008; and the World Health Organization 2010 report, all concur the same message:
“There is strong scientific evidence that regular physical activity produces major and extensive health benefits”.
These Guidelines recommend:
At least 150 mins of moderate-to vigorous- intensity aerobic physical activity/week
2- 3 days/week of strength training
*doing more physical activity than the above mentioned guideline will provide even greater health benefits.
In the April 2013 issue of Chatelaine, Dr. Natasha Turner N.D. reports on more research to support this. In her article “Are you aging too fast?”, she shares information on a study from The Archives of Internal Medicine. This study compares telomere lengths of exercisers vs non-exercisers. Telomeres are the DNA caps at the end of your chromosomes. Growing evidence shows telomere shortening can speed up aging. The study found that the exercisers had longer telomeres and were biologically younger than the non-exercisers. Dr. Turner suggests for longer, stronger telomeres, try to fit in three workouts a week that combine 30 minutes of strength training with 30 minutes of interval cardio.
This is why I love the quote by Dr. Kenneth Cooper. It speaks volumes on so many levels and is so very true. “We do not stop exercising because we grow old, we grow old because we stop exercising.”
As a healthcare and fitness professional, my work environments were such opposing practices, reactive vs proactive. Working in the hospital setting, I was becoming more and more discouraged as I observed time and again, how poor lifestyle choices impact and influence disease processes and poor health. One chronic disease process leads to the next………..a vicious cycle that leads down a path that no one should have to endure.
Transitioning out of the typical “healthcare provider role” at the hospital, to a Health Promoter role as Wellness Director of an adult lifestyle community, made sense and was a natural progression for me. Also as a fitness competitor, I am proud to be that positive role model at my gym, to my clients, my children, family and friends. My role as an ICAA (International Council on Active Aging) Champion, is to help change society’s perception of what aging is. I encourage you to share this information with your family and friends as knowledge is power, and an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
Until recently, aging has been viewed solely as a burden, with increasing years came increasing illnesses, costs and functional problems. But when we take responsibility for our own health and wellness, we transform aging into a time of opportunities, during which we can lead productive lives. Much of the usual age related decline in physical fitness is preventable and even reversible through proper attention to our physical activity and exercise levels. With every decade, exercise becomes more important in terms of quality of life, independence and having a full life.
Did you know?
After the age of 30, with lack of exercise/physical activity,
every decade we lose:
10% of our ability to breath
10% of our strength and flexibility
and we gain: 10 lbs
After the age of 25, you shorten your life expectancy by 21.8 minutes for each hour spent watching T.V.
So I ask, how do you see yourself at the age of 90? The choice is yours………frail ,feeble, unable to care for yourself, spending the entire day in a wheelchair ….OR….active, engaged in life, involved, cognitively intact and independent!
Please share the guidelines with your loved ones. It is never too late to get started with some form of physical activity.
Physical activity really is a kind of health insurance, only you don’t have to buy it!