Thursday, October 28, 2010

Aging Gracefully: Being Healthy at 100 Takes Some Homework — Jane E. Brody -

The New York Times has been running a series of articles discussing how older Americans have been able to keep relatively healthy, even at age 100.

From a financial point of view, a healthy lifestyle can yield huge benefits, since medical expenses tend to be one of the major drains on savings as we get older. Put another way, being in good physical condition is one of the smarter investment decisions anyone can make.

My wife Christina (a.ka. Mrs. Random Glenings) has always been a walker, which has meant that she is in good shape. As it turns out, Chris is following the advice of many doctors, who suggest that even the most simple exercises like walking 30 minutes a day can make a difference.

Here's a excerpt from the article:

The good news is that the age of immobility can be modified. As life expectancy rises and more people live to celebrate their 100th birthday, postponing the time when physical independence can no longer be maintained is a goal worth striving for.

Gerontologists have shown that the rate of decline “can be tweaked to your advantage by a variety of interventions, and it often doesn’t matter whether you’re 50 or 90 when you start tweaking,” Dr. Lachs said. “You just need to get started. The embers of disability begin smoldering long before you’re handed a walker.”

Lifestyle choices made in midlife can have a major impact on your functional ability late in life, he emphasized. If you begin a daily walking program at age 45, he said, you could delay immobility to 90 and beyond. If you become a couch potato at 45 and remain so, immobility can encroach as early as 60.

“It’s not like we’re prescribing chemotherapy — it’s walking,” Dr. Lachs said. “Even the smallest interventions can produce substantial benefits” and “significantly delay your date with disability.”

“It’s never too late for a course correction,” he said.

Being Healthy at 100 Takes Some Homework — Jane E. Brody -