Challenging Age

by Jsantos, December 10, 2013

Challenging Age

Motivations for living healthy when becoming older

One of the myth of aging is that as you get older, you naturally become more fragile. However, when we look at the bones of older runners, we see minimal loss of bone due to the continual force applied to the bones over many years of running. Wolf’s Law, named for the German pathologist who first proclaimed it, states: “The robustness of a bone is in direct proportion to physical forces applied to that bone.” In short, if we remain active our bones will remain strong. Participation in vigorous exercise and recreational activities regularly over a lifetime can yield rewards garnered well into the later years of life. Adults who lead a sedentary existence lose bone density and increase their risk of fracturing bones in accidents in their homes or of becoming unable to perform daily living activities. People who continue to live healthy, active lives into their later years are at less risk for such serious and debilitating injuries. Researchers at UCLA performed a study on 4,300 people. Of that population, only 12% who exhibited few or no unhealthy habits became disabled over the next decade. Nineteen percent of those who had many bad habits paid the price by way of illness, disability and death.

Life involves a continuing series of choices. While advances in medical technology clearly contribute to the decline of many diseases, it is generally accepted that changes in lifestyle and environment have a great impact upon the prevalence and incidence of the major diseases of adulthood. Even the subtlest of changes can result in significant benefit.

Extending life would not mean much if simply meant living more years with disease and disability. The same steps that add years to your life can add life to your years. Healthy habits not only reduce risk of fatal heart attacks and cancer, but also reduce other chronic ailments that can be physically, psychologically and financially debilitating. The bottom line is this: The more exercise has been a constant in your life, the better your chances are of living long and well.

Older adults who want to maintain physical and emotional independence must engage in regular exercise. Most older adults fear losing their independence more than they fear death. Proper exercise can help older adults prolong their independence. Unfortunately, many older adults believe that they are to old to start exercising. In fact, we are never to old to start and exercise program if it is done prudently and with a physician’s input. Many of the “side effects” associated with aging are now being found to be the end result of the effects of hypo-kinetic disease, AKA: couch potato syndrome. Unfit people will experience a decline in physiological performance of approximately 2% per year while fit people will only decline by about 0.5% per year. Over a lifetime that makes a significant difference.

We at Dr. Mead’s practice encourage you to challenge yourself and set goals to improve very single day of your life. If you want assessment, we are always here to help.


From The Complete Guide, by Frederick Hatfield. Orthopedic Corner | Leon Mead MD Orthopedic Doctor | 730 Goodlette Road North, Suite 201  Naples Florida 34102 | Phone: (239) 262-1119

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