Vibrant Health—Yours at Any Age!

The statistics are stunning. Current research on the impact of exercise on health, tracking 660,000 people from the United States and Sweden, and using 150 minutes of moderate walking per week as a guideline, says that participants, who were compared to people who didn’t exercise at all, had a 20% lower risk of dying during the follow-up period of up to 14 years.

A recent article in The American Journal of Medicine, reporting on the work of Dr. Harvey B. Simon, who analyzed several studies, says that even moderate physical activity of one hour a week pointed to lower rates of heart attack, stroke and death from all causes.

Studies of the benefits of walking for older people have existed for decades,  claiming that a daily walk can reduce the risk of stroke and days spent in the hospital, and even lower the risk of death by up to 39%, when compared to having no physical activity.

Just 15 minutes a day of moderate exercise could extend the lifetimes of people by an average of 3 years longer than the lives of inactive participants, a study suggests, adding that increasing the amount of exercise lowered the risk even more (31% for 30 minutes a day, and 39% for 75 minutes).

Okay, that’s enough of that—you get the picture! During these past few days, with New Years’ resolutions featured in the media. and the nation’s gyms rapidly filling up, you might be giving exercise a thought or two. You might be considering fitting a daily walk into your day. And some of you, who may have already developed a habit of walking, may be deciding to step it up a little.

Do not doubt the statistics!

Or you may be looking at the statistics on exercising with a baleful eye, thinking that it’s fine for younger people, but it’s a waste of time for people like you, who are over 65—you prefer the couch on these cold days of winter, or you might join that gym later on, when it’s not so crowded. Or you may have health problems, and believe that you are too old, and it’s too late to reverse them.

But that is just not the case, health professionals say. Given the right intervention, and the right dedication, even diabetes can be reversed, and blood pressure and other dangerous heart issues can be halted. No matter what your age, no matter how you have abused your body—you can still make major changes in your health.

The health industry is fascinated with longevity. Researchers and writers follow it closely. Sandra Gordon, author and freelance writer for Prevention Magazine, says this:

“In the 20th century, the average life expectancy shot up 30 years—the greatest gain in 5,000 years of human history. And Centenarians—folks who make it into the triple digits—aren’t such an exclusive club anymore, increasing 51% from 1990 to 2000.

Advances in health, education, and disease prevention and treatments are high on the list—and that makes sense. But what you may not know is that seemingly unimportant everyday habits, or circumstances in your past, can influence how long and how well you’ll live.”

Yes, records do show that we are living longer than ever. Modern medicine has had a large part in this, but I believe that knowledge is also a big factor. And with knowledge and education comes an appreciation of not only a longer life, but a better quality of life.

The simplest approach is the best approach

I for one, am not content to live out my days, resting, as they say, on my laurels, LOL! Over the years, I have developed a habit of exercising. I have joined yoga, worked out at a gym, done aerobics (remember that craze?) gone dancing, always in the search for some exercise that would motivate me to effortlessly keep on moving. Like everyone, I’ve had periods when I felt I was too busy (or too unmotivated)  to seek out these activities, so I would just open the door and walk.

Here’s the thing—walking is the only activity that stuck. It requires no equipment, no complex arrangements, no expense. So I’m still doing it…putting one foot in front of the other down the path, down the sidewalk, down the parkway, where ever I can find a space, and fresh air beckons. As Ellen DeGeneres says,

“My grandmother started walking 5 miles a day when she turned 60. She’s 97 now, and we don’t know where the hell she is.”

This entry was posted in Health, Inspiration, Longevity, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Please feel free to leave comments; your email address will not be published.

20 Responses to Vibrant Health—Yours at Any Age!

  1. I am lucky to have an elliptical machine in my living room, which I use regularly when life doesn’t get in the way. It cost more money than my government pension would allow, but luckily there is someone in my life who provides me with a few extras, otherwise I would not have it.

    Housework is also good exercise, I wonder if they counted domestic activity!

    Winter (-30C this morning here), snow covered, ice rutted roads and sidewalks, no sidewalks, no affordable gym, no transportation… this is Canada, there are lots of seniors for whom walking is not really wise, for four to six monthes of the year. Not my issue, but much of the inexpensive houseing that seniors can afford is in neighbourhoods that are not as friendly as one might hope, a real consideration, and a deterrent to walking for pleasure.

    • Still the Lucky Few says:

      Owning an elliptical is a real advantage. I used to use one in the gym. When I opened my blog, I stopped going to the gym—driving there and back seemed counter-productive, although I loved doing weights, and having the company of others. These days, I walk almost every day. Although I’m in Canada, it’s possible to walk year-round in Victoria. I’ve lived in other cities in Canada, and found it possible to maintain my walking as long as people kept up with side-walk maintenance. I realize it’s different for you, since you are in the country. I can’t say I ever worried about safety, as long as I walked during the day. You bring up several points about the lack of sidewalks and transportation where you live, and I agree, it’s a real consideration. And yes, I agree that housework is good exercise—I’ve decided to start spring cleaning today, and am now tired from a real work=out!

  2. The longevity statistics are impressive indeed. After retirement in 2010, I resolved to make exercise part of my daily routine. Mostly, it’s walking but I also go to a gym and lift weights, go to yoga classes and participate in aqua fit classes.
    In 2016 I joined a walking club as an adjunct to what I do at the gym. Most of us are over 70 years old; we walk 7.5 kilometers on 3 days per week, then go for coffee and some visiting. When the snow and bitter cold came to Ontario in mid-December, we changed to mall walking to keep from slipping and sliding on icy trails. The walking group has opened the doors to new friendships. We motivate each other to keep going. I’ll share the statistics you have provided to other members to reinforce the benefits from walking.

    • Still the Lucky Few says:

      Kudos to you for finding and joining a walking group! Not always easy! I’m very impressed with your routine of gym work, yoga and weight-lifting. While I mostly walk now, I do a 30 minute routine after a quick warm-up in the evenings, using weights to keep my muscles strong. The mall walking is familiar—something I used to do with my mother years ago!

  3. Don’t forget strength training, that’s important too. Also exercises for balance, which can be done anywhere, even waiting in line. I never sit when watching Netflix or DVDs. I have my stair stepper and treadmill and my weights and resistance bands. At the moment I’m watching the Great Courses DVDs on Ancient Civilizations and have just finished the one on the integrated history of Greece and Rome. Might as well exercise the brain while we’re at it!

    • Still the Lucky Few says:

      Love your approach! As I mentioned in my reply to Jeanette, I do a 30 minute routine using weights in my front room. No bench yet, so I use a hassock until I can take the time to buy one. We live in a condo, which is roomy enough, but little room for gym equipment! You’ve got it right, Jean—keep moving!

  4. virginiafair says:

    Right on! I’ve been exercising virtually all my life, and am proud that at age 71 I do all my own snow shoveling and leaf raking, and sometimes even go to the gym afterwards! I think I’m addicted to exercise! but that’s why I can do all this.

    • Still the Lucky Few says:

      I’m so impressed, Virginia! And very happy for you too, since you seem to be on a sure path to longevity. You didn’t say housework, though, and I’m sure you do some of that—it counts!

  5. Hi Diane! Staying active and MOVING is critical at any age. Unfortunately, it seems far to easy to sit (at the computer) these days but we must remember that our very health depends on it. I have read quite a bit about Blue Zones (places in the world where people live longer than anywhere else on the planet) and one of the characteristics is that the people stay VERY active. They don’t exercise really, nor do they belong to a gym…they just stay active and moving all the time. Thanks for your reminder to keep moving. ~Kathy

    • Still the Lucky Few says:

      Yes, Kathy, I enjoyed your articles about Blue Zones, and agree entirely. Unfortunately for some of us, long hours at the computer are part of our lives, so I think we need to walk and do other more intense activity to compensate. Just say’n!

    • I follow as much as possible Blue Zone methods as well…I got into when I told a friend that my doctor had advised against “fast walking…” and I was finding it difficult to just slow down and amble. My doctor at the time had said similar, you can walk as far as you like, just don’t work fast. If you come to a hilly part, take bigger strides but don’t rush up or even down it…

      • Still the Lucky Few says:

        Great advice! You have a doctor who is up on the latest issues—the point is to keep moving, speed won’t get you anywhere!

        • I don’t have that particular doctor now…but I’ve do seem to have some luck even with a generic clinic doctor…and I try to follow the ones that appear to be on my level, and think less of throwing a pill at it (whatever it is…)

          • Still the Lucky Few says:

            The level of competence in Clinic doctors seems to be very satisfactory, I’ve found. Thanks, Cathy!

  6. Immoderate exercise has probably done for my knees – but I’d do it all again 🙂

  7. Rummuser says:

    I salute you for your discipline.

    I am 75 and would very much like to go without troubling others and myself any day. I am ready. I have serious health issues that prevent me from undertaking vigorous exercise including walking. I however have developed a half an hour daily routine of yogasanas which keeps me agile and active.

    • Still the Lucky Few says:

      Sounds like you have come up with a perfect solution—I think yoga has a great deal of value. Agile and active—two adjectives I love!

  8. Barry Dym says:

    As an old jock, i was always contemptuous of ‘just’ walking, but, as i’ve aged. I’ve become a devotee–to good effect. Thanks for your emphasis.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *