Between the ages of 77 and 95, Olga Kotelko set more than thirty world records for running and jumping. A book was written about her by Bruce Grierson, a man who had started feeling a bit frail after turning 47. Shortly after an article appeared on the BBC website about her, Olga died. Her death may have been delayed by exercising but that’s not the point. The reason for carrying out endurance and strength training after retiring is to stay as active as possible so that life is as fulfilling as possible for as long as possible. Olga certainly achieved that.
Is there anyone who wants to sit in a chair till the minibus comes to take them down to the Centre, where they can sit in another chair? Is there anyone who wants to face up to the statistics on the many old people who die within a year of falling and breaking a hip. Ageing can be grim if you do it sitting down. So, health permitting, get up and boogie.
Here are a few of the many articles on the internet about the effect of exercise on ageing. The first, from the Daily Mail, discusses telomeres. Let’s face it, no discussion of ageing would be complete without giving a mention to our cellular aglets.
Please note that lengthening telomeres may also require reducing stress and improving the quality of both your diet and sleep. Warning: the following reference contains traces of Ornish.
Promoting independence by defeating chronic illness
Staying active is what it’s all about. Arthritis and diabetes brought on or aggravated by obesity is certain to put a damper on things. Here’s what the US Department of Health and Human Services has to say on the benefits of exercise for the elderly.
The Guardian has this positive offering.
Sadly, Dr Charles Eugster, whose photograph begins the article, has also died but, as with Olga, he did not go gentle. I quite fancy being a wild man who caught and sang the sun in flight so it’s a good job I like backpacking.
The fight against muscle wastage
The next article, from the New Scientist, suggests that a pill may help those who cannot maintain muscle mass through weight training. It discusses sarcopenia and alleges the problem is the biggest killer you’ve never heard of. Free radicals are at the heart of it.
I wouldn’t mind betting that Olympic athletes are already abusing the drugs mentioned in the article. You heard it here first! For the rest of us, Mens’ Fitness has this practical advice.
Remember that the brain is a physical structure which responds to the burdens you place on it. According to 80/20 Running by Matt Fitzgerald, one of the reasons we tire when running is because the brain gets tired. Training strengthens the brain and so we are able to run further and more stylishly. Personally, I’d learn to paint, a language such as Italian and coding in Swift if I wanted to get smarter but the Independent has this article on how exercise can improve brain activity.
I’ll end with this reference to an article in Time because most readers (both readers?) will have given up a long time ago.
Ten more years of sharp thinking because exercise helps to maintain an effective blood flow to the brain. Sounds good to me.