Stefany was recently invited to give a talk on fitness and aging to the Salt Lake City chapter of the American Association of University Women. (I didn’t realize I would be the only man in the room, or I might not have tagged along to tape it!) Though the talk wasn’t about RVing, Stef cites a number of studies, and tries to dispel a few myths about exercise as we age. It really was pretty interesting. These are the main things I came away with:
- All of us will tend to lose muscle as we age. That’s everyone. It’s called Sarcopenia, and this loss of muscle is what’s really responsible for a lot of the challenges we face as we get older.
- WALKING IS NOT ENOUGH to combat this muscle loss. I hear this so many times – “All you need to do is walk.” Though it’s popular advice, it’s just plain wrong. Yes, walking is better for you than sitting on the couch. Yes, walking is good, low-impact, low-level cardiovascular exercise. But walking does not build muscle. If you want to be able to walk AND pick up your grandchildren – walking alone won’t cut it.
- Exercise improves mental function. In addition to losing muscle as we age, we also lose brain mass. Yikes! But, just as with muscle, this loss is reversible with exercise. And though we frequently hear recommendations to exercise our minds, it’s interesting to note that physical exercise is actually better than mental exercise for keeping you sharp as you age.
So, besides being really proud of Stef for being such a good public speaker, I learned a few things about healthy aging. Do watch the video – it’s only a few minutes, and it just might change how you approach your golden years.