In 1900 the idea of proper nutrition was non-existent. You pretty much ate what was available. Adequate medications for then common diseases were yet to come. Winters were colder (no I’m not referring to global warming; I’m talking about no central heating—brrrr) and summers were hotter because there were no air-conditioners or electric fans to protect us from the heat. Face it, our live are a lot easier now.
So let’s take another look at life expectancy. This time, we’ll look at the 1990’s. By this time a human being could expect to live around 75 years—big difference. (I guess those TV dinners weren’t as bad for us as we thought).
A lot of things factor into this equation, but probably none so much as the advances made in modern medicine and nutrition. These two factors alone are most responsible for the steady surge from 47 years in the early nineteen hundreds to 75 years at the end of the same century. Remember, fitness didn’t really emerge as a force in aging until the late 1970’s and by that time the average life expectancy was already well on the rise.
In the last fifteen to twenty years, hearing about someone celebrating their 70th birthday has become commonplace. Most people nowadays assume, barring any accidents or an unexpected illness that they will surely live that long and longer. As I said, it wasn’t always so. As a people, Americans are growing older, but, will we be healthy when we reach seventy? Do older Americans reap the health benefits of exercise? Here are some interesting facts regarding aging and exercise.
As people age, their activity levels tend to drop. By age 75, three out of five aging adults have ceased participation in any type of physical activity. These aging adults have a higher risk factor of heart disease, high blood pressure, colon cancer and diabetes. Think about it. With as little as twenty minutes of exercise only three days a week it’s possible to reduce the risk of these diseases. Sounds easy, huh?
Fitness offers no ‘money back’ guarantees, as I said earlier, and to exercise properly takes a lot of hard work. But, the possible rewards - stronger bones and muscles, increased circulation, fat loss, and reduced cholesterol—can be there. Add a proper nutrition plan and who knows where exercise can take you.
Obesity is on the rise and osteoporosis is becoming more and more common. Unfortunately, both these problems are worsened by a sedentary life style. Without exercise aging Americans can become ‘fat’ and ‘fragile’. The other unfortunate thing is that, as baby-boomers, we’re at the age where an ‘unhealthy lifestyle’ is about to catch up with us.
That brings us to biomarkers. Biomarker is a relatively new term for the signs most associated by aging such as: slowing metabolism, (*Caloric requirements drop by 2-10 percent each decade over the age of 30), decrease in lean muscle mass, bone mass, cardiac output declines, decreasing aerobic capacity (Do you huff and puff climbing up stairs?), blood cholesterol levels rise, frequent urination (guys, when was the last time you had a full night’s sleep?). Do you want me to keep going?
Bottom line, if you haven’t yet experienced any of these changes you still have a chance to slow things down and enjoy a few more years without them. Try a little exercise, it couldn’t hurt.
Baby Boomer Exercise Video & Song
Robert Bresloff is a Certified Personal Trainer, Fitness Therapist, Adaptive Fitness Specialist, a Specialist in Fitness for Older Adults and Endurance Trainer with The International Sports Sciences Association. He owned and operated, Total Fitness Concepts Inc for 10 years. He has written for Masters Athlete Magazine, The Waukegan News Sun and trade e magazines and recently released his first fitness book, 'The Baby Boomer's Guide to Fitness" The Baby Boomer's Guide to Fitness