You Are NEVER Too Old to Exercise


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A common excuse for not paying serious attention to wellbeing and adopting healthy behaviors is I am too old for changes to benefit me. This assumption is a dangerous, treacherous untruth. As we age, we should be more aware not less of the need to promote wellness because we are entering a minefield of health problems.

In youth and middle age, all our organs have considerable reserve, which allows robust lifestyles. Our reserve allows us to get up and run a mile, lift our weight equivalent, and do other feats requiring multiple efforts than just sitting. Our mental reserve allows us to obtain advanced degrees, learn a foreign language, invent amazing technologies, and write learned books. This is much above being hunter-gatherers.

Aging gradually reduces our reserve. As an example, overall fitness is measured by the maximum amount of oxygen one can consume during exertion (VO2 Max). At the end of middle age, physical health (VO2 Max) decreases by as much as 20% each decade.{Fleg, 2005 #1720} Compare this to your bank account. Isn’t it nice to have a buffer before you are broke? In health matters, being broke is not good, avoid health broke.

The two main organs that keep us alive are our heart and lungs. Yes, all of our organs are important but almost 80% of deaths result from lack of reserve in those two organs. Like the great bank robber, Willie Sutton quipped when asked why he robbed banks, “That’s where the money is.” We should take a lesson from Willie and concentrate on our heart and lungs; that’s where the problems are.

Everyone knows that they can increase their bank account by doing a little extra work. It is the same with our bodies. A caution: Start slow and if you have any doubts about your health status, get advice from your doctor.

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