In my Meaning of Life keynote I talk about eight things that I have learned from seniors about living an active, full, quality life. I use my 88-year-old mother's schedule to show particularly how her ability to keep active and busy has contributed to her quality of life, still living independently in FL. Now another study comes along and shows just how dramatic physical activity is especially among our eldest.
In the September 14 Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers studied seniors born in 1920 and 1921 and found that those who exercised more than four hours per week and performed vigorous activities, such as swimming or jogging twice a week, significantly reduced their likelihood of dying over the course of the study.
The more active members were more likely to live independently and retain their ability to perform activities of daily living. The benefits were especially noticeable for those who remained active well into their 80s. They reduced their risk of dying between age 85 and 88 by 17% compared to the more sedentary.
As the new season of The Biggest Loser debuted last week, it is important to note that these physical activity habits start (or don't) when we are much younger. Yes it is never too old to exercise but the later you start the longer road you have to go of it. And caregivers listen up, you have to make time for you. Caregivers often end up suffering more than those who they are caring for. A woman on The Biggest Loser was a caregiver to her mother who died at 48 and was more than 300 pounds. The daughter is almost 500 pounds and she spent all that time taking care of her mother and ignoring herself.
The keys to life are fairly simple. It is the discipline that we need.
On this World Alzheimer's Day, let's pay close attention to what we can do it our own lives to ward this disease off, how we can help caregiver's with their burden, help those afflicted lead the best life possible and advocate for increased funding around this disease.