Things are working out at 100
World War II veteran Barbara June Gage (she wrote her story in “Flight Nurse: From Pearl to Tokyo” under her married name, Gruning) just turned 100. The nurses at her care facility in Lakewood, New Jersey — as reported by a major news network — say the key to Gage’s longevity is her rigorous daily workout: leg lifts with weights, stretches and more. That doesn’t surprise us.
We’re always advocating more exercise (and a Mediterranean diet) and pointing out that no matter how old you are, it’s never too late to start! A study published in the European Heart Journal reconfirms it. Researchers looked at a group of participants, average age of 67 (47 percent men, 53 percent women), and found that if you’re doing less and less moderate and vigorous exercise when you’re 60 and older, you’re at 27 percent increased risk for heart disease and stroke compared with your peers who get more exercise. In contrast, they found that if you increase your exercise habits, you reduce your risk for cardiovascular woes by 11 percent. That’s a 37 percent swing!
So, get into the swing of things. The researchers defined moderate exercise as 30+ minutes a day of brisk walking, dancing or gardening, and vigorous exercise as 20+ minutes a day of running, cycling or aerobics. Check with your doc(s) to create an exercise routine that makes you healthier. If you join a workout class for older adults, research shows that it not only promotes longevity, it increases quality of life too.
Motivation, not time, is the obstacle to working out
Last month, Netflix began testing a new speed-watching feature to help subscribers binge on their shows 1.5 times faster! Really? Are you so pressed for time that you have to watch your favorite programs on fast-forward?
Not really. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Americans average over five hours of free time daily! But how do you decide to use that free time? Staring at one screen or another, hardly moving.
A RAND Corporation study, based on government data on 32,000 Americans, finds that no gender or economic group is spending even 7 percent of their free time on physical activity. That’s a measly 21 out of the 300 minutes available every day! No wonder obesity, diabetes, depression and some cancers are on the rise!
Clearly motivation — not time — is most folks’ main obstacle to physical activity. So we’re suggesting a few smart steps that will move you psychologically so that you’re interested in moving physically.
To begin getting a minimum of 30 to 60 minutes a day of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, plus muscle-strengthening activities twice weekly, adopt these motivation-boosting techniques:
■ Meditate for 10 minutes morning and evening. Clearing away stress will give you energy.
■ Make exercise a family/buddy activity. Showing you care for one another will increase both your positive feelings about yourself and your power to improve your health.
■ Set realistic goals, then reward yourself when you hit them. Lose four pounds in a month, if needed. Buy new jeans! Get 300 minutes of activity this week — you earned a massage!
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.