I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up!
No, this isn’t another story about my near-death experiences with gravity. Today we’re going to discuss the vital importance of exercise, specifically resistance/weight bearing exercise as you get older. Unless you’ve discovered the fountain of youth, getting older is unavoidable. I hear the alternative to aging is not very appealing. Being armed with the knowledge that getting older is inevitable, we must learn how to make the process of aging as painless and beneficial as possible.
Most of us can remember the old lady in the Life Alert commercial. “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” As a pastor, I hear all kinds of prayer requests. In the past several months, I can think of several instances of an elderly person falling, and a majority of the instances resulting in at least some broken bones, if not worse. Many times, the fractured bone is the hip. According to the Center for Disease Control, falls are the leading cause of injuries in older adults, with 20-30% of falls leading to moderate or severe injuries. An unbelievable 95% of hip fractures are caused by falls. Per physiological make-up, women are particularly at risk. If you are a woman, you lose 30% - 50% of your bone density as you age. The loss of bone speeds up dramatically after menopause because you make less estrogen. Estrogen contributes to maintaining bone density and strength. The number of hip fractures in women is more than twice as high as in men. One in five hip fracture patients dies within a year of their injury. The incidence of hip fractures increases with age, doubling for each decade after age 50. In some cases, the bones can become so weak that you actually break your bone by simply walking, therefore causing you to fall.
I’m not giving you this information to scare or depress you. As a son of parents that are experimenting with the thought of life in their 60’s, what I need you to understand is the importance of weight-bearing exercise! I’m not talking about training 7 days a week for your next bodybuilding or powerlifting competition… I’m talking about a lifestyle of exercise that puts enough stress on your bones to keep them strong. Osteoporosis, according to most experts, is totally preventable. What is osteoporosis? Osteoporosis literally means porous bone and is a disease in which the density and quality of bone are reduced. As bones become more porous and fragile, the risk of fracture is greatly increased.
Walking and jogging are good, but you really need to get a membership at a gym or at minimum get some dumbbells that you can have at home to perform exercises in the comfort of your own home. Again, I’m not asking you to be the next Mr. or Mrs. Olympia… but as you age, you desperately need weight training combined with smart food choices. No matter what your age, don’t wait to start. Begin today by making a lifestyle change that incorporates good habits! Your life could literally depend on it! You only have one body… you owe it to your kids and grandkids to be around as long as possible! Have a great weekend! God bless!