The benefits associated with middle age fitness.
Living longer is not necessarily one of them.
My middle age fitness program didn’t begin until, well, middle age. I avoided exercise until I my type 2 diabetes diagnosis. Everything changed immediately after that. I got serious about keeping fit.
I had someone write to me about how do I stay motivated to get up almost every morning for a bike ride.
My answer was easy. I want to live long enough to celebrate my 50th wedding anniversary to the Charming Mrs. SWMBO. That would make me 96 years and 4 days old. That’s an ambitious goal, but one that is possible.
Her relatives on both sides seem to routinely live into their 90’s. My side, particularly my parents generation, have not been so fortunate, so I do have my work cut out for me. Getting type 2 diabetes didn’t help the cause, either.
There are benefits with starting a program for middle age fitness, but longevity is not necessarily one of them. This from a study done researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and the Cooper Institute in Dallas.
They reviewed medical records of over 18,00 patients, middle-aged men and women who’d visited the Cooper Clinic (the medical arm of the Cooper Institute) for a checkup beginning in 1970.
After a stress test, these 18,000 were divided into 5 groups, ranked from the least fit to the most fit. Most patients were in the least fit group. No surprise there. All were considered healthy and free of any chronic illness at the beginning.
The benefit comes from delaying eight chronic illnesses that eventually affect the elderly, including heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and colon or lung cancer. The least fit were the most likely to suffer from one these chronic maladies early on as they aged. The most fit did not necessarily avoid becoming chronically ill, they just became chronically ill later in their life.
The upside is that they suffered less in their life. Medical technology can keep people alive longer, but those year may be spent struggling against disease.
The fittest spent more years free to enjoy their retirement in good health. They had many more happy days if not more total days.
Even going from the 5th group to the 4th group made a big difference on the years spent without suffering through a chronic condition.
So, if you exercise and stay fit, you may not live longer, more live more better and happier.
That’s worth something, isn’t it?
Yes, there many mornings all I want to do pull the covers over my head and go back to sleep. Then that annoying little inner voice starts to nag and I give in to it. I will feel worse if I don’t.
Jack LaLanne famously once said that “only a masochist like to exercise.” I love that line.
I like to done with my exercise. I like the benefits of a good ride. That’s what I look forward to, lots more happy years.