To Your Health
April, 2008 (Vol. 02, Issue 04)
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Aging Is Not Inevitable

Reveal the Younger, Healthier, Happier You

By Dr. Ronald Klatz

Every day, 330 American baby boomers turn age 60. Each of them desires to live a long and fulfilling life, full of productivity and vitality, and absent of disease and disability. This quest is why thousands of people just like you are becoming interested in anti-aging medicine.

Simply put, anti-aging medicine is advanced preventive health care based on the early detection, prevention, treatment and reversal of age-related dysfunction, disorders and diseases. The goal of anti-aging medicine is not merely to prolong the total years of an individual's life, but to ensure that those years are enjoyed in a productive and vital fashion.

Some of the "secrets" to anti-aging aren't really secrets at all, and they don't require drugs or surgery. For example, abundant clinical and research evidence suggests consistent physical activity plays a key role in maintaining health and vitality as we age.

Anti-Aging and Physical Fitness

A healthy looking middle-aged woman. - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Exercise is one of the most valuable forms of anti-aging medicine. Substantial health benefits occur with regular physical activity that is aerobic in nature (such as 30-60 minutes of brisk walking, five or more days a week). Additional health benefits can be gained through greater amounts of physical activity, but even small amounts of activity are healthier than a sedentary lifestyle. A number of recent studies reinforce this basic concept.

Fitness Level, Not Body Fat, Predicts Longevity in Older Adults

A middle aged man stands in front of his surfboard and the ocean. - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Men and women age 60-plus with higher levels of cardiorespiratory fitness live longer than unfit adults, and this correlation is independent of levels of body fat. Researchers at the University of South Carolina examined the associations between cardiovascular fitness, clinical measures of body fat, and death in older adults. The researchers studied more than 2,600 adults for a 12-year period, during which there were 450 deaths. The team found that those who died were older, had lower fitness levels, and had more cardiovascular risk factors than survivors. However, there were no significant differences in body fat measures.

Across a wide variance of body-fat levels (excluding the most obese), fit study subjects were found to have lower death rates than unfit subjects. Higher levels of fitness also corresponded to lower incidence of death from all causes. In their published report, the researchers comment: "The results add to the existing evidence that promoting physical activity in older adults provides substantial health benefits, even in the oldest old."

Dr. Robert Goldman, chairman of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, observes: "Physical fitness and body physique, both individually and synergistically, play a complex role in lifespsan and health span. This study shows that regular physical activity, sufficient to keep most people out of the low-fitness category, enhances functional capacity and promotes living longer and in better health."