Chronic Disease, Physical Strength and Old Age

By Pamela D Wilson CSA, CG, MS, BS/BA

How many of you remember Jack LaLanne,  an early pioneer of good health and exercise? Jack is quoted as saying:

“Life is survival of the fittest. How many healthy people do you know? How many happy people do you know?  Think about it. People work at dying, they don’t work at living. You’ve got to exercise. Your health account, your bank account, they’re the same thing.” (Wikipedia)

Jack LaLanne lived to the age of 96 and established one of the first health and fitness clubs in the United States in 1936. During his life he endlessly advocated for good nutrition and exercise as the foundation of good health.

If Jack LaLanne can be healthy, why can’t we? Why are so many of our older adults physically disabled?

Aging is associated with a loss of muscle mass and strength and eventual functional decline; limiting physical activity in old age results in increased risk of falls, hospitalizations, dependency, disability, frailty and mortality. (Legrand, D., Vaes, B., Mathei, C., Adriaensen, W., Pottelbergh, G., & Degryse, M., 2014)

Knowing that the personal and financial costs of illness are significant, why don’t we as individuals and as professional caregivers take more action on behalf of ourselves and in educating the individuals we serve? Have we become lazy, disinterested and in denial or are we truly uninformed?

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©2014 Pamela D. Wilson, All Rights Reserved.

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