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Aging (Do we have to?) - part 1

By Hawkins Williams
Certified Fitness Specialist for Older Adults

Let's define aging. Aging is the diminished capacity to regulate the internal environment, resulting in a decreased probability of survival according to Dr. Roy Shepard. Allow me to help you understand the previous statement. As you become older your body's internal functions loose their ability to work as well as they did when we were younger. It is estimated that by the year 2030 there will be 70 million Americans that will be 65 years of age. As a nation we are becoming less active, and the health care system is being tasked beyond belief. Let's face it, it's no fun growing older; however, there is something that you can do to slow the process down. When you were younger, most of you were very active. You played in the yard, participated in sports, along with a host of other activities. Most of you became parents and spent more time guiding your children through love and wisdom. Parents know that raising children is a full-time job, and it does not leave much time for your own personal needs which includes your good health. Well, the good news is now that the children are gone and have their own families, it's time to become more concerned about your well being.  

The number one reason most American's die is due to cardiovascular disease (CVD). I would say that it is a lack of activity in your life which can lead to CVD. If you have seen the T. V. commercial that states diabetes kills, it's not that diabetes kills, it's the lack of controlling diabetes that kills. Well, it is the same for most other causes of death. You must become proactive in the fight of illness. The great news is that it's not too late to do something about your health. Most of you probably own your homes and would like to keep them. Living in a nursing home doesn't seem to be a pleasant thought to anyone. Becoming more active can be one way to stay out of a nursing home. There are times when you have to visit someone in the hospital, and you wonder if you will end up in one. Let's look at a list of leading causes of death in the Unites States: Cardiovascular disease, cancer, accidents, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, (C.O.P .D.), diabetes mellitus and Alzheimers Disease. While becoming more active cannot cure diseases alone, we should now discuss what becoming more active can do for you. 

Exercise has now been researched for decades and the findings are well documented. The Cooper Institute in Dallas, Texas performs hundreds of studies each year. Their studies show us that by becoming involved in an aerobic and strength-training program we can reduce the likelihood of disease. Cardiorespiratory, or as it is commonly called, aerobic training is just one of the components of a well-balanced exercise program. Training your cardiorespiratory system can increase your heart's ability to pump out more blood with less effort from your heart. This it important because your heart is not placed under heavy stress. As you know, the heart is a muscle as well are an organ. One benefit of working muscles is that they become stronger and more efficient. I will discuss this more in the next newsletter. Until then, remember my goal is to EMPOWER YOU WITH THE KEYS TO FITNESS.