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Body Weight Training Facts - Fit At Fifty Means Healthy At Sixty Five
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Body Weight Training Facts   -   fit at Fifty Means Healthy at Sixty Five

Is body weight training for those age fifty and above?

What are the benefits of exercise and fitness in middle aged men and women?

Is there any evidence that fitness at around age fifty correlates to longevity and better health in later years.

A new study just published in a medical journal appears to support just that, or sort of. It depends how you define longevity.

Study Design

The study followed almost 19,000 men and women who were about 50 years of age in 1984 and completely healthy. A series of health and fitness measurements and examinations were done to categorize the participants into quintiles; the top 20%, 2nd 20% and down to the bottom 20% or least healthy.

The participants were later tracked after they entered the Medicare program at age 65. Their health was tracked for about the next 10 years. Chronic and debilitating illnesses (those that adversely affect a person's quality of life and /or are expensive to treat) were looked for. Diseases like congestive heart failure, kidney disease, diabetes, COPD and some cancers were the diseases evaluated.

Healthy Aging - An idea whose time has come

They found that fitness at age fifty allowed for healthy aging, a term or idea previously thought to be contradictory. In fact, those in the top 20% of fitness at age fifty had just over half the amount of chronic conditions as those in the bottom 20%. And their quality of life was described as far superior for those in the less fit categories.

An increased life span was not specifically proven however a far superior quality of life was demonstrated. For example, the least fit (bottom 20%) at age fifty spent almost twice as much of their final five years of life with four or more chronic conditions than the most fit. And the highly fit were far less likely to die at any age as compared to the least fit.

Survival of the Fittest?

Yes it was a very Darwinian response. While the fittest did not necessarily outlive the unfit, they enjoyed a far superior quality of life. The fittest at age fifty basically stayed quite healthy beyond age 65 and tended to die after a brief and sudden illness. There was not a slow, gradual decline in health that many associate with aging. The unfit at fifty however, did decline slowly in health after age 65 and finally died after continuing to degrade in health over the last number of years.

Another way to think about it is the highly fit stayed fit throughout their lives and finally died after a brief illness. The unfit gradually but steadily declined in health, living their final years with sometimes several chronic conditions until finally dying. Pick which way you want to go.

Can body weight training put you into the top 20% fitness echelon? It sure can't hurt.

While the fittest don’t necessarily live longer, they do thrive longer. And that really is the point of a healthy and productive life. Living life to the fullest everyday.

Body weight training today. Good health and longevity tomorrow. Sounds like a plan.

Street Talk

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