Many of us have raised children and taught them the important lesson that it’s never too late to say sorry, the point of the adage being, there’s always a benefit to learning from our past slip ups and committing to doing better in the future. That lesson holds promise for us—baby boomers, late middle lifers, and seniors who aspire to greater stamina, energy, and capacity for activity, or perhaps who don’t like where we find ourselves now at a fitness and health standpoint, especially as we beginning to face health issues related to inactivity.
Most of our generation worked hard sometimes at the expense of our own personal well-being through much of our adult life—often prioritizing others over ourselves, hustling from performance reviews to practices, board meetings to recitals. Some of us may wish we’d done it differently, found a middle ground that made time for more exercise and better stress management, while others might not change their choices for a thing. Regardless how you look at the past, what matters is how you look to your future.
The facts are, according to the CDC, less than one quarter of Americans, only 23%, get enough exercise. And proof of exercise’s benefit to preventing chronic diseases, as well as improving cognitive, mental, and emotional health, are indisputable. Americans across age groups are facing the health consequences of less than ideal activity and higher than ideal stress levels. How do we right the wrong? Can the damage be undone? Science says, yes:
The bottom line: Most of us haven’t exercised as would have best benefitted our health, and now as we move later into life, the damage of inadequate activity starts to take hold.
The science: Research over the past five years has demonstrated that these negative effects are reversible.
The good news: It’s never too late to say sorry to our bodies and take back our health by increasing our levels of exercise and activity!
How is this possible? Extensive research and studies by cardiologists demonstrate that you can “substantially remodel your heart and make it more youthful by starting to work out in midlife.” And not some intense, short-lived, exhausting exercise crusade, but rather a realistic lifestyle change that incorporates a variety of enjoyable, engaging exercise four to five days out of the week. This commitment to regular exercise in these studies demonstrated participants’ hearts were stronger and less rigid than before they began the exercise regime, which in short, means, their hearts become more youthful.
For those of us who wish we could change where our heart health and overall wellness has brought us, or who simply want to feel better and get more active as we age, the indications of this research are encouraging—an invitation to live fully into our present and future by getting moving, feeling better, and living well in our later years.