This is a red letter day for all of us who would like to live our lives (however long they may be), remaining as fit and functional as possible.  Here’s the scoop:

At a Fitness Trainers update and Pro D day over the weekend, one speaker on healthy aging offered this current thinking: while genes clearly play a role in what happens as we age, it is a much smaller role than previously thought, only about 20% plus or minus.  The whopping bulk of the influence is our environment — internal: our mental and emotional state and strategies, and external:  including living space, diet, and such things of course, but EXERCISE features big, and it’s something over which we have a lot of control.

Two new studies just showing up today, one in the CBC News, and the other New York Times Magazine update the positive links between exercise and cognitive function and well-being.  Resistance training is also coming to the fore, as well as the good, old, standby, cardio work.

Here are the titles and the links:

Weight training staves off dementia in older women

How Exercise Could Lead to a Better Brain 

And even walking does the trick.  Here’s a quote from the Times article:  “Sixty-five-year-olds had achieved the brains of 63-year-olds simply by walking, which is encouraging news for anyone worried that what we’re all facing as we move into our later years is a life of slow (or not so slow) mental decline.”

While it can be a challenge for some of us to get moving, when we do, most agree that exercising has a high return on investment:  more energy, more joy, feeling better, and much more.

Another aspect of the topic is the question of what motivates us — Is it fear: moving away from what we don’t want,  or love: leaning toward what we care about.  This can make all the difference, as we explore it in the essay ‘Use It or Lose It’ in BECOMING, if you want to have a read :-).

I find all this encouraging and inspiring!  Have a look at the new research, and let me know what you think.

Jill Schroder is the author of BECOMING: Journeying Toward Authenticity.  BECOMING is an invitation for self-reflection, and to mine our memorable moments for insights, meaning, and growth.  Check the website for a sample chapter, or see the reviews to get a flavor for the volume.  Your feedback is most welcome.


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