AGE BRILLANTLY shouts the title on the October issue of Oprah magazine….good, I like that. But it’s sub heading is Everything you always wanted to know but were too tired, forgetful and cranky to ask. Are you kidding me?!? This from a magazine forging a wholistic identity, determined to provide tools to help you live your best life. The article 90 is Not the New 50 assures us that Young at Heart will only get us so far and chronicles the authors experience helping her 90 year old mother adjust to a life of dependency after a fall. It strongly reinforces the misconception that if you live long enough you will become dependent..period..it’s unavoidable. BUT WAIT…research clearly proves that physical frailty is preventable AND reversible with progressive resistance strength training, at any age! Maria Fiatarone–the New England Journal of Medicine, June 1994 (yes, 1994) reported that 100 nursing home residents aged 72-98 increased strength by 113% in 10 weeks. This type of research has been duplicated many times since.
In 90 Is Not the New 50, the authors mother had been using the walls and furniture to help get around yet the warning signs of functional deficiency were ignored, no doubt attributed to "old age". A lump in her breast or chest pain would have brought evaluation, diagnosis and intervention. Strength, balance and mobility training could change the story but change won’t come until everyone RETRAINS their mindset. This outcome was so expected, by the doctors,the daughter, the mother that no-one believes in a different possible outcome. No-one is even looking for solutions except to, adjust to the new normal. Ageism strikes again, with pretty tragic consequences.
Just because something is usual and predictable doesn’t make it normal. The normal loss of physical function attributable to biological aging is VERY SMALL. Dramatic losses in physical capacity commonly associated with aging result primarily from lifestyle issues and in my opinion, belief systems. Check out the 100 year old water skier and other high functioning adults in the National Geographic magazine, November 05. Consider the thousands of people in their 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and even 100’s competing in Senior Olympics. These people are not freaks of nature but have chosen to reject the concept that age equals unavoidable decline physically and mentally until dependence and death. They make choices based on a new assumption….that they can live fully and vitally throughout their full lifespan. Change your mind, change your life!!