Many moons ago when I was teaching 5th grade, my students dressed in black and gave me a cane for my 30th birthday. I got a big kick out of it. To them (10 and 11-year-olds), I suppose I was old. Funny though, I do know some really "old" 30-year-olds and I know some really "young" 70-year-olds. In part, age is a mindset. In 1997, I ran my first marathon—NYC. I was 32. The oldest person who ran the marathon that year, was 95-years-old! He was over 60 years older than me! I don't remember his exact time, but it was around 5 to 5.5 hrs. I was amazed and inspired!
That first marathon was over 11 years ago, and I'm running better and faster now in my forties, than in my early 30s. In fact I'm in better shape now than when I was in my 20s. Why? Because I take time to be active, eat well, and take care of myself. Life definitely isn't over after 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, or 100!
Simple things like walking can really benefit individuals as they age. A recent study consisted of a group of 60-year-olds and older that were enrolled in a 4-month walking program and a control group of the same ages that was not involved in the walking program. The participants in the walking-program showed marked improvements.
- Physical function scores increased by 25% for the walking group, but decreased by 8.3% in the other group.
- The walking group's disability risk decreased by 41%.
- Peak aerobic capacity increased 19% for the walkers.
- Peak aerobic capacity declined 9% for the control group.