Fitness Conquers All

Retirement Myth #4: Physical fitness is less helpful (and possible) as we age.

While leaving the Washington Hilton Hotel, on March 30, 1981, President Ronald Reagan was shot in the chest by would-be-assassin John Hinckley Jr. Quick medical attention saved Reagan’s life. About eight months later, I watched on TV as he talked to reporters about his rehab.

Reagan was showing off his biceps, which, due to prescribed resistance training (pumping iron), had grown dramatically. Our 40th president was nearing his 71st birthday.

According to Dr. Rowe, besides increasing muscle size and strength, resistance exercises “also enhance bone strength, limiting the risk of osteoporosis and fractures of the hip, spine and wrist.”

Rowe says that physical activity (including some form of aerobic like a brisk walk) is “the single most important thing an older person can do to remain healthy.” It even negates other risk factors.

“The most fit people, even if they smoke or have high blood pressure, are still at lower risk of death than nonsmokers with normal blood pressures who are couch potatoes.”

Hmm. Maybe I have my answer to yesterday’s dilemma (see Retirement Myth #3). A half order of Dyer’s onion rings=two more miles on the bicycle, exactly.

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