Article – Age On Your Terms: 6 Aging Myths Debunked
If you’ve been reading your newsletter each month this year, you know that our theme for this year is change. I want to continue with that focus in mind this month and discuss fallacies associated with aging. As coaches of the boomer generation and beyond, we have heard countless individuals come into our studio already prepared to tell us what they can’t do because of their age or what limitations they have because of their age. I am here to debunk six common myths. My aim in doing so is to provide a platform for hope. I can’t stand it when someone, unknowingly because of something they heard, limits themselves. So, read on and be uplifted!
Myth #1: To Be Old is To Be Sick: This myth centers around the belief that aging and disease go hand in hand and individuals are destined to wind up in a nursing home or suffering from a catastrophic illness once they get older.
Debunked: First off, although it is true that the incidence of chronic diseases such as coronary heart disease, diabetes, arthritis does increase with advancing age, it is not fair to say that all succumb to this position once a certain stage of life is reached. With an ever growing population of individuals 50 and above, it is easy to see that there are a large number of healthy, robust boomers and beyond who are without any significant chronic diseases or functional limitations.
Don’t let this one be your demise. First and foremost, stay active! Doing so stabilizes blood sugar levels, systolic and diastolic blood pressures, increases your ability to use oxygen, and keeps joints moving thus minimizing them from freezing up. If you already have a chronic disease, don’t be overly concerned. My advice to you is the same with the caveat in place to listen to your body. Some movements, such as running for example, may not be best suited for you if you have a later stage chronic condition such as arthritis. However, notice I did not say you have a license to not move. Quite the contrary! If you have a chronic disease the best thing you can do to maintain your independence and quality of life is to move and move often! 1,2
Myth #2: You Can’t Teach An Old Dog New Tricks: This one has all of us in a tizzy over the latest brain game. I’ve probably heard Luminosity mentioned at least a ½ dozen times in the last month alone. Simply, there are those who have been led to believe that senility and dementia are a natural part of aging and unfortunately also inevitable.
Debunked: Have you heard of brain plasticity? If you haven’t, take some time and look it up. Here are the basics. Your brain remains ever changing to some degree until the day you know longer need it. It is malleable. It will adapt to gain mastery of whatever it is challenged with, so long as the challenges are consistent in nature. If you like learning, this is great news because that means, contrary to past thought on the subject, you can retain your ability to learn throughout your lifespan.
You are largely in control of your ability to stay sharp. Much like myth number one, lifestyle behaviors starting young and carrying forward largely influence your brain’s health. Physical activity levels keep your brain stimulated and charged with oxygen. Dietary choices nourish the brain and provide the materials it needs to repair and replenish dead and dying cells. Excessive (>14 per week) alcohol consumption has been demonstrated to promote dementia. 3 Changing your environments through social events, different pockets of friends, new experiences, and yes, brain games also lead to improvement in your level of cognitive decline with age.
Myth #3: The Horse Is Out Of The Barn: This myth is that once you’re older, it’s too late to reduce disease risk, increase your health status, or become fit. Have you ever heard yourself saying that it’s too late for you to get stronger? Maybe you were talking to a friend who can barely walk and they expressed that. Good news! It’s not true!
Debunked: This myth is similar to that of number one in how you would approach it to debunk it. Diet and consistent exercise of at least 150 minutes each week aerobically and 2-3X each week with resistance are the gold standards for reducing disease risk, improving your health as measured by your blood markers (A1C, HDL/LDL ratio, triglyceride levels…) and becoming fit. 4
One of the most common reasons we check out of continuing to travel, exploring the outdoors and other movement based experiences is diminished strength. If you have ever trained with me or any of my amazing team, you know that we emphasize strength development in both your upper body and your lower body. What you may not know is that from the age of 30 to 70 your body, left uninfluenced is programmed to lose 30% or more of your muscle mass! 5 That’s some serious strength loss and can be the difference between you being fit to explore or overcome with fear to simply navigate a high step. Be assured though. Contrary to past thinking that muscle could not be developed in our later years recent science has proven otherwise showing actual improvements in skeletal muscle with participants in their 90s! 6,7 It is really never too late.
Myth #4: But My Genetics! Choose Your Parents Wisely: I cannot tell you how many times I have heard someone tell me that they can’t change “fill in the blank about themselves” because of their family’s genetics. Although certain things like the shape of your nose, how much hair you’ll keep, and what your bone structure will be are a product of your genetics, disease and disease risk do not have to be your fate simply because they “run in the family”. It is true that you can have a stronger likelihood to have a stroke if heart disease is rampant in your family. However, overall evidence is clear that the influence of lifestyle and environment are far more important factors in the determination of your health and functional ability than your family’s genetics.
Myth #5: Older Adults Become Weak And Disinterested In Sex: It commonly assumed that once we get to a certain age our interest in sex with our partner wanes.
Debunked: Research shows otherwise. Both men and women remain interested well into their 70s and often beyond. No surprise keeping up physical activity plays a key role in this. 8
Myth #6: The Elderly Don’t Pull Their Own Weight: This one is a widespread belief that older adults are a burden to society and do not contribute to its continued success.
Debunked: I found this one surprising personally because of the heavy involvement in volunteer work I see our clients greater than 50 involved in. And I was right to think that way because the boomer and builder generations represent the two largest volunteer forces in our nation. In fact, they are such contributors that many organizations, Angel Charity in Tucson for example, depend heavily on their contributions of time and financial support, and physical labor. Also, older adults are commonly recruited to help out with grandkids or ailing family members. Finally, it is becoming increasingly common for individuals past typical retirement age to still be working!
So, there you have it. Six myths concerning aging are now debunked. If I succeeded in getting you to contemplate change of some of your limiting thoughts, I’m thrilled. And if I confirmed why others of you are so full of life, well, that thrills me too. I would love to hear your comments so please write back. You can do so by clicking on the “Contact Us” item on our menu. Until next time, happy and healthy aging to all of you!
1 – American College of Rheumatology. Recommendations for the medical management of osteoarthritis of the hip and knee: 2000 update. American College of Rheumatology Subcommittee on Osteoarthritis Guidelines. Arthritis Rheum. 43: 1905 – 1915, 2000.
2 – American College of Sports Medicine Position Stand. The recommended quantity and quality of exercise for developing and maintaining cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness and flexibility in healthy adults. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 30: 975 – 991, 1998.
3 – Kenneth J. Mukamal, MD, MPH; Lewis H. Kuller, MD, DrPH; Annette L. Fitzpatrick, PhD; W. T. Longstreth, Jr, MD, MPH; Murray A. Mittleman, MD, DrPH; David S. Siscovick, MD, MPH. Prospective study of alcohol consumption and risk of dementia in older adults. JAMA. 289 (11): 1405 – 1413, 2003.
4 – Buchner D., and E. Coleman. Exercise considerations in older adults: intensity, fall prevention, and safety. Phys. Med. Rehabil. Clin. N. Am. 5: 357 – 375, 1994.
5 – Tseng D., B. Marsh, M. Hamilton, and F. Booth. Strength and aerobic training attenuate muscle wasting and improve resistance to the development of disability with aging. J. Gerontol. A. Biol. Sci. Med. Sci. 50 Spec No: 113 – 119, 1995.
6 – US Department of Health and Human Services. Strength training among adults aged >65 years – United States 2001. MMWR 53: 25 – 28, 2004.
7 – Gary R. Hunter, John P. McCarthy, and Marcus M. Bamman. Effects of Resistance Training on Older Adults. Sports Med. 34 (5): 329 – 348, 2004.
8 – Stacy Tessler Lindau, M.D., M.A.P.P., L. Philip Schumm, M.A., Edward O. Laumann, Ph.D., Wendy Levinson, M.D., Colm A. O’Muircheartaigh, Ph.D., and Linda J. Waite, Ph.D. A study of sexuality and health among older adults in the United States. N. Engl. J. Med. 357: 762 – 774, 2007.
Welcome New and Returning Clients
Danetta Bronniman – Welcome Back
Dick Jaskiewicz referred by Amy and Todd Adams
Terri Spencer referred by Patti Trout
Ladonna Thomas referred by Kathy Ram
Heather Schiazzano referred by her brother Daniel from our Youth Fitness Group
Laura Gibson referred by Eve Shapiro
Paul Simon found us on Google, Welcome!
Introducing “Shout Outs”
Shout outs are about us voicing victories we witness you all having at BodyBasics. What you don’t know is that we start every Wednesday staff meeting with our shout outs. After doing this for several months and realizing how many incredible experiences are being shared, We thought it would be excellent to position a place within our newsletter to share also with all of you. We’ll keep it to our top 5 each month.
Shout out to Mary Sciabarra for continued improvements in her mobility, so much so that she has been able to drastically reduce her arthritis medication!
Shout out to Paul Simon for dropping 2% bodyfat in his first month of training!
Shout out to Lynne Helseth for achieving her goal of completing a bodyweight pullup!
Shout out to Jeff Glebocki for also achieving a long held goal to complete a pullup. He wanted one and actually completed more than 5!
Shout out to Chuck Warren for adding another day of cardio, on his own!
Chi Running Clinic, Sunday, October 12th 9am-1pm
ChiRunning takes some principles from Tai Chi and applies them into a running system dedicated to efficient and reduced risk of injury running. If you are interested in a new approach to running join us for this clinic. For more information click here.
Cognitive Change Workshop, Saturday, October 25th 1pm-2:30pm
Come and meet guest presenter, Marianne Curtis,a licensed clinical social worker who specializes in a particular type of therapy called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She will be providing us with strategies to help us deal with life’s little annoyances, like long lines, poor customer service, or bad drivers. She will also be providing her expert insight with other things more complex, like reaching an important fitness goal, keeping your cool with difficult co-workers, or reducing harmful behaviors. The workshop is free and we will provide some light snacks so you can concentrate on what you’re learning instead of your grumbling tummy. For more information on Marianne Curtis or her business, Hillman Curtis Counseling Services, click here.
Annual Shoe Drive
This will be the third year BodyBasics and Maximum Impact Physical Therapy have partnered to help kids at Ochoa Elementary school in the Marana School District. Last year our BodyBasics family donated 204 pairs of shoes! Our goal this year is 210 pairs.
We will be collecting shoes the entire month of November so start watching for those sales! What we need are new shoes ranging in sizes for kindergarten through 6th grade for both boys and girls.
Holiday Slim Down Challenge!
We want to see our small group numbers go up and we are asking you to refer your friends and family to our Holiday Slim Down Challenge offer as great starting point for them to get involved with us. The challenge will provide them with a chance to experience your coaches, our atmosphere, and some added bonuses as well.
Client Spotlight – Marline Dunn
Say hello to Marline Dunn, a testimony to what following a consistent exercise program can produce. You see, Marline has successfully maneuvered both a heart attack and major back surgery to become the beacon of fitness that we know her to be today. Marline started her training with us at BodyBasics in June of 2012 after first her physical therapist, Bob Direnfeld at ProActive Physical Therapy then her massage therapist, Lorri Tomeo and finally her good friend Annette Geistfeld all suggested that she come check us out! Thankful for us, she listened.
Marline started her training at BodyBasics as a one on one client of Chris. At the time her back was quite troublesome so individual sessions were best. It was easier to adjust her exercises to suit her needs. If you’ve ever had back pain you know how important that can be because one day is not always like the next. After about a year and a half of one on ones, Marline really started feeling much better. She is currently a regular participant in the Monday, Wednesday, Friday Foundations class along with her husband, Rick.
Marline, you are such an amazing woman. I love your “can do” attitude and your commitment to always working to be better every day! Thank you for your continued trust in us as your coaches.
Recipe – Morning Glory Muffins
While enjoying a wonderful dinner with friends last month, we learned about these amazing muffins! You have got to try them. Packed with great nutrients they are not only great tasting but great for your body!
- 1/2 cup mashed sweet potato
- 1/2 cup shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/8 cup shredded carrot
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup almond flour
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Preheat oven to 350*F.
- Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and blend well.
- Coat muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray (or use paper liners) and divide batter among six cups.
- Bake for 28-30 minutes or until muffins are cooked all the way through.
- Allow to cool before serving.
Makes 6 muffins
This Month’s In Studio Challenge Is…
This month is all about the squat. Beginning October 1 and continuing to the 31th, join us in completing a maximum of 50 squats by the end of the month. Any kind of squat counts; chair squats, wall squats, dumbbell squats, jumping squats, squats on balance discs or split squats as shown below. Details can be found inside the studio on our Challenge Board or on our Facebook page.
Video – Split Squat