The Benefits of Exercise As You Age
by Maureen E. Hook, Ph.D.
May 28, 2013
Everyone is going to age. We all know this. What you might not know, however, is that if you exercise, you can significantly affect how you age. You’re still going to slow down, but with exercise you can delay some of the worst aspects of old age–inability to move and ambulate without aids and decline in mental agility. Lifelong exercise, research is now telling us, has many beneficial effects. One reason this occurs is that lifelong conditioning strengthens the heart. If exercise is not consistent throughout one’s life, the heart begins to shrink and stiffen around age 45-60, according to Benjamin Levine of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. With reduced heart capacity, the body has reduced muscle capabilities. This means it will no longer be able to move and react as quickly and efficiently as it did at a younger age.
Let’s have a look at Dee Nelson of Gaithersburg, MD, age 69. She ran her first Cherry Blossom race, a 10-mile course through Washington, D.C. at age 34. Her time then was 76 minutes, 55 seconds. She just ran the Cherry Blossom 2013 race on April 7 (age 69) in 87 minutes, 11 seconds. Yes, it was a little slower, but still not bad for someone her age, and she placed 3rd in her age group! Dee has followed a training routine developed by Kenneth Cooper, of the Cooper Clinic in Dallas. This routine recommends 4-5 workouts per week, one of which includes one session of long, slow distance running. It appears to have worked wonderfully for her. Other experts also recommend two weekly strength training sessions, but this was not part of her regimen. Strength training facilitates muscle and bone density health.
In a study by Scott Trappe of Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, the aging of nine professional athletes was examined. All had been competitive cross-country skiers, and were at least 80 years old at the time of the study. He found that their cardiovascular condition was comparable to 40-years olds. So minus someone being killed in an accident or acquiring an unpredictable disease such as cancer, it appears that regular, lifelong exercise is the key to remaining active and functional well into your 80s. Lifelong exercise requires dedication and discipline, but at least we now know that it’s worth the trouble.
(Source = Lenny Bernstein, “Lifelong exercise can help you maintain speed and fitness as you age,” The Washington Post, April 22, 2013.)
Hook Law Center: Kit Kat, how does a mouse avoid being captured by a cat?
Kit Kat: Well, surprising that you should ask. There is some new research out about this very topic. Mice have certain genes that enable them to sense the scent mark of carnivores, like us cats. The gene is called TAAR4. The problem is that some mice do not possess this gene. If they are missing this single gene, even though they have all the other 14 TAAR genes, they are likely to miss the scent marks of animals like cats, making them more vulnerable to predators. And let’s face it, the mouse is the perfect prey in size and in ample supply for us cats. My sister, Misty, is the only one of us cats that is allowed to go outside. She is the oldest, and by the time my parents got the rest of us cats, there were too many to supervise outside. She regularly catches voles and mice and leaves them at our parents’ doorstep as a gift.
Anyway, I thought that was very interesting stuff. Isn’t it amazing that an animal as small as a mouse can have that many genes, and be that sensitive to manipulation of just one gene out of so many? This just goes to show that we animals are very complicated creatures. We are more like you humans than many would have thought!
- Moving On! Services LLC is a company that specializes in personal property dispositions. They are sponsoring a Scarf Up & Wig~gle® drive in which scarves, hats, and wigs are donated to the Women in Cancer Treatment program. The drive lasts until June 15, 2013. Please leave any donations at either our Virginia Beach (295 Bendix Rd.-Suite 170) or Suffolk (5806 Harbour View Blvd.-Suite 203) locations. Jennifer Pagano, a Client Benefit & Care Coordinator at Hook Law Center, serves on the task force for the drive. We thank you in advance for any donations you are willing to give!
- Hook Law Center will be presenting at the VSB Trusts and Estates Section – Virginia State Bar – 75th VSB Annual Meeting in Virginia Beach on June 14, 2013.
- Hook Law Center will be presenting a seminar at the Norfolk Yacht and Country Club, 7001 Hampton Blvd., Norfolk on June 19, 2013 at 11:30 a.m.
- Hook Law Center will be presenting a seminar to Virginia Enrolled Agents at the Airport Hilton, 1500 North Military Highway, Norfolk, VA 23502 on July 17, 2013 at 8:00 a.m.
- Hook Law Center will be presenting at the Advanced Elder Law Seminar in Richmond, VA on September 11, 2013.
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