When the ‘fitness revolution’ started back in the 1970’s baby boomer women were 20 something. Some of them participated in the latest jazzercise classes, aerobics or even jogging and some of them did not. Now 40 odd years later we know that intentional exercise in no longer just recreational, entertainment or considered ‘fun’.
Many of us witnessed the decline of our parents to the point they needed nursing care as they could no longer even perform the tasks and activities of daily living when they lost their strength and along with it their independence. We know this happened to them as they were not really aware that the greatest threat to aging is loss of strength. So, they got older and weaker with each passing decade and did nothing to build and maintain functional strength.
Although we know this now and it is widely talked about 8 out of 10 adults do not do enough muscle building or maintaining activity and are in great danger of ending up in a nursing home just like the generation before them. Many baby boomer women are entering the ‘last third’ of life overweight and sedentary. This is not a good recipe for longevity.
Although the age span has increased no-one would really want to live out the last 10-20 years in what is known as the ‘disability zone’ where we can no longer take care of ourselves and become dependent on others to live. Yet decisions made in the years and decades before we get there determines how long (if at all) we spend in this ‘zone’. We are each responsible for the choices we make in regards to our strength and fitness and nutrition. These are the main factors in the quality of our aging years and poor lifestyle choices such as living a no exercise lifestyle will come back to haunt us. Many people think that a doctor will fix us up if we get sick but our doctor is responsible for our sickness not our health. Health is not just waiting for symptoms of disease to appear then try and manage them.
Disease does not just happen, but can take years or even decades of smoldering away inside and when symptoms do appear no doctor; pill or surgery can make us healthy again. So prevention is the best solution and starts with a proper exercise program to maintain strength. Along with keeping muscles strong, bones and joints are kept strong as overall strength leads to wanting to be more active in general. It is hard to sit still when you are strong and fit. A higher level of activity means higher energy levels which has huge spin offs for enjoying life. To avoid the same aging model as our parents we need to get stuck in to a proper strength training exercise program 2-3 times a week and never stop. This alone will help us avoid the loss of independence which is simply not an acceptable way to spend that precious ‘last third’. There is so much more than this but we have to reach out and grab it.