Will exercise matter?

Posted: 27th August 2012 by Paul LaRosa in exercise
Tags: , , , , , ,

Lately, I’ve been around a lot of 80 and 90 year olds what with my mother and mother-in-law both moving into assisted-living type developments. No surprise that there are a lot of walkers and wheel-chairs all around. Seniors have trouble with balance and three times when I visited my mother, someone fell down nearly in front of me. Growing old is not a pretty sight.

And I began to wonder — is this going to happen to me? Am I going to need a walker and be hardly able to walk when I’m 80, if of course I manage to live that long?

No, I think, not me. No way. I’m probably kidding myself but here’s the thing — my mother and mother-in-law did virtually no exercise in their lives. Neither have ever belonged to a health club. They walked a little and that was it. Not that they are that different than anyone else in their generation — they might have been the greatest generation but they were not the greatest exercising generation. That would be us — me and my fellow baby boomers.

I’ve been exercising fairly strenuously since I’ve been 35. I can’t count the number of health clubs I’ve belonged to, the number of yoga classes I’ve attended, the miles I’ve traveled (or not) in spinning classes. But will any of it matter?

Jeez, I hope so or what a waste of time. Yes, exercise makes me feel good and I’d probably weigh a lot more if I didn’t do a lick of it but, damn it, I want it to make me live longer too? Is that asking too much? Of course, if disease gets you, you’re out of luck no matter how much you exercise.

The thing is, this generation has done way more exercise than our parents. In fact, I think it would make a fascinating study (I’m sure someone is already on this) to see if we exercising baby boomers live longer than our forebears, if exercise matters. We will see, won’t we? I only hope I’m standing upright when I have this knowledge.

  1. Martha Stem says:

    Paul – “Use it or lose it” but exercise is only part of it. Nutrition is paramount. Enough protein to support lean muscle mass. Don’t get enough protein and muscle mass will dwindle. Don’t get enough calcium and bones weaken. Digestion is necessary for absorption of both. Inadequate fiber, prescription medications can interfere with optimal digestion. So keep exercising but eat to win!

  2. Martha Stem says:

    Paul – “Use it or lose it” but exercise is only part of it. Nutrition is paramount. Enough protein to support lean muscle mass. Don’t get enough protein and muscle mass will dwindle. Don’t get enough calcium and bones weaken. Digestion is necessary for absorption of both. Inadequate fiber, prescription medications can interfere with optimal digestion. So keep exercising and eat to win!

  3. Paul LaRosa says:

    well, Martha, i’m trying. if there’s one thing i’ve learned from watching my body, it’s that exercise is not the way to lose weight. eating less and better is. i can exercise until the cows get thin and, if i don’t watch what i eat, it has zero effect on weight loss

  4. susan carr says:

    Hi Paul: Well – as someone a bit older than you I can testify to the fact that I have never belonged to a fitness club. I have however, walked thousands of miles in my lifetime. We used to walk to school, we used to walk to work and we used to work – hard physical work such as building gardens, planting grass – not to mention thousands of hours of housework that required bending, pulling and pushing.

    I also have worked in a hospital since the time I was 17 years old. From what I have seen health is dependent on a few things primarily – good genetics, a positive attitude and eating good wholesome foods.

    Junk food or fast food was something that many of us ate sparingly – if at all. It was a treat – we did not eat out for the most part – mom did the cooking and worked from dawn until dusk for the family.

    But the most important part of this dialogue as far as health is concerned is that parents worked hard for their families whether out in the workforce and/or at home. They had little time to concern themselves about themselves which brings me to a primary point – looking out for the well being of others is one of the most beneficial things one can do for themselves.

    The push for fitness and diets and so on – is primarily the focus of the “me” generation – will they be healthier at the end of the day – I don’t think they will be as healthy as their parents were and are. Just my opinion.

  5. Paul LaRosa says:

    Good points….time will tell

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