It seems like every time you turn around, someone else is espousing the benefits of physical activity and fitness. Here's yet another reason to get moving: Your fitness level at age 50 has a lot to do with both the occurrence and severity of chronic disease in your golden years.
Twenty-Six-Year Study Conclusion
As researchers noted, there is much scientific evidence between fitness and mortality -- the age at which you can expect to expire using parameters of health such as physical fitness. The team of researchers who undertook this study, published Monday in the Archives of Internal Medicine , was interested to learn the relationship between fitness and the development of chronic illnesses in later life.
The research team examined data from the Cooper Center Longitudinal Study representing information from healthy, midlife adults. From this data the researchers were able to determine that midlife fitness levels were closely inversely associated with later development of chronic diseases. The greater the level of fitness in middle age, the lower the likelihood of development of chronic illnesses in senior years.
Practical Application of Study Information
Diane E. Bild, MD, MPH, stated succinctly that there are only two true factors involved in fitness: genetics and exercise. Only one of these two factors can be controlled by each individual: exercise. Baby boomers who are interested in maintaining good health throughout their golden years have time to heed the warning implicit in the study's conclusion.
Validity of Study Conclusion
Bild, in a commentary appearing in the Archives of Internal Medicine , also notes that although the researchers findings have value, there are limitations to this kind of study. A cohort study, such as this one was, studies data in retrospect. Bild asserts that clinical studies need to be developed where factors affecting outcome can be better controlled and more representative of the total population. The Cooper Center study, Bild explains, gathered data from participants of whom 98 percent were white, well-educated, and of a middle-to-upper socioeconomic status.
Even given the limitations of diversity in the Cooper Center study, the conclusion that a relationship exists between fitness in midlife and better health in later life seems reasonable. Fitness at any and all ages has proven advantages, from heart health to mood improvement, which no prudent person should ignore.
Baby boomers, the writing is on the wall. Reading the message isn't going to be enough to make the difference; you're going to have to take action -- the sooner, the better for your future health's sake.
Smack dab in the middle of the baby boomer generation, L.L. Woodard is a proud resident of "The Red Man" state. With what he hopes is an everyman's view of life's concerns both in his state and throughout the nation, Woodard presents facts and opinions based on common-sense solutions.