The diet/weight loss industry is a multi-billion dollar business.
So is the healthcare industry…
and the pharmaceutical industry…
and the health insurance biz.
Billions and billions and billions and billions.
In contrast, the amount of money being spent on health promotion and disease prevention last year in the United States was $11.78.
But, that’s okay.
Because, according to a group of studies published this week in the Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers have identified a low cost solution that “not only helps maintain good health, but may even prevent the onset of chronic diseases, such as heart disease, osteoarthritis and dementia”.
And considering that the Baby Boomers have begun to enter their senior years, senior citizen health & fitness is about to become a major social & economic driver in the coming years.
So, we have to decide:
- Do we want to spend billions & billions attempting to treat the symptoms of heart disease, dementia, osteoporosis, diabetes, cancer, alzheimers….?
- Or do we want to spend $11.78 and prevent these diseases from happening in the first place?
The Secret of Senior Fitness
So what is this low-cost secret to senior fitness?
According to these studies presented in this month’s Archives of Internal Medicine, it’s EXERCISE
- Study # 1 showed that seniors with higher levelsof midlife physical activity experienced exceptionalhealth status among women who survive to older ages (70+) and reinforce the conclusion that physical activity improves overallhealth as we age.
- A second study looked at the effectiveness of targeted exercise programs on the health-related quality of life of institutionalized senior citizens. Amongst this demographic, exercise produced an improvement in the overall quality of daily activities – walking, continence, nutrition and mental cognition.
- A third study showed that 1 to 2 resistance training workouts per week produced significant improvements in the cognitive functions of 65 to 75 year old women.
- A fourth study showed that a exercise program focusing on intensity helped women (65+) improve their bone mineral density, fall rate and cardio heart disease risk factors…with no increase in direct costs.
- The fifth study showed that people 55+ are much less likely to experience cognitive impairment (dementia, alzheimers) as they glide into their senior years.
These studies back up previous research showing that:
- High blood sugar levels significantly increase your risk of cognitive impairment (link)
- Overweight/Obese seniors (60 – 75) were able to increase their physical fitness, increase their muscle mass and lose body-fat…all in 4 months. (link)
- Daily physical activity is able to counteract fat genes (FTO) (link)
So, what are you supposed to do with all this info?
- Stay active
- Encourage your friends & family to be active. Healthcare costs associated with inactivity & poor diet and lifestyle choices are going to skyrocket as the bulk of the baby boomer population enters their senior years. Everybody ready for another economic meltdown?
- Encourage your employer / government to get proactive about rising healthcare costs by spending a little more on health promotion / disease prevention. Public health & fitness facilities and programs need to become a priority.
And, to do my part, I will post an article tomorrow about the type of fitness program seniors should be doing.