September 5, 2012
THE BENEFITS OF MIDDLE-AGE FITNESS: “Being or becoming fit in middle age, the study found, even if you haven’t previously bothered with exercise, appears to reshape the landscape of aging. . . . Interestingly, the effects of fitness in this study statistically were greater in terms of delaying illness than in prolonging life. While those in the fittest group did tend to live longer than the least fit, perhaps more important was the fact that they were even more likely to live well during more of their older years.”
UPDATE: Reader Bart Hall emails: “Glenn, I know you also do some weight-lifting. I began Olympic lifting eleven years ago, at age 52, and at age 63 am not only back *up* to my playing weight as an athlete some 45 years ago, but have more energy and strength than in my 30s, when I was no slouch. It’s a huge surprise, and although it may not give me more years (my mother is now 95) they certainly will be better years, not least because we now have a one-year-old daughter at home. Better years, indeed.” Yes, this study was only on aerobic fitness. I think if they had included strength in their analysis, the results would have been even more significant. And a one-year-old daughter at 63? Mazel Tov!
And I should note that after incorporating some of Mark Rippetoe’s advice into my workouts, I’ve really seen the results. My fitness has gone all the way from “not bad, for a law professor” to “pretty good, for a law professor.”
Plus, getting back up to weight is a big deal. Losing fat is good, but many older people are under-muscled, and that’s not good.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Ron Baakkonen emails about my Livestrong App recommendation: “I’ve been using the Livestrong app for about three months now (from your recommendation back in April and re-recommendation on May 30th). I’m down 30 lbs since then and feel like I’ve really turned a corner health wise. My doctor tells me he sees improvements in my glucose, blood pressure, cholesterol, body weight, and body fat. My wife tells she has seen improvements in, er, other areas. So, . . . thanks for that.”
Glad to help! Yeah, there are probably better ones out there — I just picked this because a friend’s wife had spectacular results with it — but anything that tracks calories and exercise is good.