The secrets to living longer
The aging of the baby boom generation could fuel a 75 percent increase in the number of Americans ages 65 and older requiring nursing home care, to about 2.3 million in 2030 from 1.3 million in 2010, the Population Reference Bureau. Obesity rates among older adults have increased, standing at about 40 percent of 65-to-74-year-olds in 2009–2012, and putting more people at risk of chronic disease and disability. By 2030, over 37 million Baby Boomers will manage multiple chronic conditions.
Today, just 35% of boomers exercise regularly, and 52% have no actual routine, including me. And the Journal of the American Medical Association recently revealed that our generation is far less fit than our parents.
Regular exercise is suitable for a person’s health and well-being-that is well known. But how many minutes of moderate or vigorous physical activity is needed to lower the risk of premature mortality?
While the 2018 physical activity guidelines recommend that adults engage in at least 150 to 300 minutes per week of moderate exercise, 75 to 150 minutes each week of vigorous movement, or an equivalent combination of both intensities, it turns out that if adults do more than the recommended amount, it can help them live longer. Moderate physical activity is defined as walking, weightlifting, and lower-intensity exercise. Meanwhile, vigorous exercise is categorized as running, bicycling, and swimming.
“Baby boomers led an unprecedented fitness revolution into a kind of golden era of health,” says Kenneth H. Cooper, M.D., whose 1968 best-selling Aerobics put modern exercise on the map. In 1968, less than 24 percent of American adults exercised regularly; by 1984, that figure had risen to 59 percent. Cholesterol levels fell, and so did blood pressure. Deaths from heart disease plummeted by 48 percent. And, largely due to boomer mojo, the average life expectancy jumped from 69.7 years for those born in 1960 to 75.4 for those born in 1990, a considerable gain born in 1960 to 75.4 for those born 1990, a considerable gain.
As Baby Boomers become septuagenarians, exercising is still important. But, instead of the intensity of the workout is essential, the focus should be on reaching an aerobic heart rate and building strength. According to a study published in BMJ, a lack of physicality causes nearly 3.2 million deaths yearly. In the industrialized world, this number is attributed to:
- High blood pressure
- High blood glucose
- Lack of physical activity
Here are some guidelines for baby Boomers before engaging in a workout program for safety and effectiveness:
- Get medical clearance from your doctor before starting an exercise program, especially if there is a pre-existing condition.
- Never continue an exercise activity if something feels wrong such as sharp pain, dizziness, or shortness of breath.
- Start slowly, especially if you’re beginning an exercise regimen; it’s best to build up your fitness program quickly. Even breaking workouts into short increments several times a day is much better than doing nothing.