WHY AM I WRITING THIS TODAY?
Because good health is the BEST gift you can give yourself. It’s better than anything you might find boxed up under a tree. And although sickness strikes randomly there is also a lot we can do for ourselves to increase our chances of leading healthier, longer, better lives.
#1: OLDER AMERICANS ARE GETTING HEALTHIER. AT LEAST SOME ARE.
Fascinating study from the University of Michigan exploring what distinguishes the healthiest people over-65 vs. those not so healthy.
- A graduate degree was the biggest differentiator between those in excellent health vs. those in poor health.
- Other major differentiators were wealth and race.
What I found so intriguing about this new study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, is how they flipped the script.
- In the past, when measuring changes in health over time, researchers would always focus on the sick and disabled.
- With this study, however, they focused on older Americans who have managed to stay in excellent health.
- It isn’t necessarily more comprehensive, but it does provide new perspective and unique insights into how Americans manage to stay healthy.
Lead author Matthew Davis, assistant professor in the University of Michigan School of Nursing explained:
- “Prior to our work, little was known about healthy older adults. Our argument is that using poor health as a measure of population health is analogous to making conclusions about the economy based only on the poverty rate.”
If this subject is of interest, read more here.
#2: REGULAR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE
Walking just 30 minutes a day will go a long way toward making you healthier, extend your lifespan and potentially save you from heart disease.
People in the 7-year study who met the physical activity guidelines:
- Were 30% less likely to die during the time of the study
- 20% less likely to develop heart disease
- You don’t even have to go to the gym. Walking or biking to work or taking the stairs all count towards the physical activity guidelines.
- Link for more from Live Science here.
Read on below for an update on arthritis (my personal nemesis) including info on Kittie Weston-Knauer, the 69 year old female BMXer who just had both her hips and both her knees replaced in a 12 month span and is right back on her bike. Impressive!!
#3: ARTHRITIS/OSTEOARTHRITIS UPDATE
80% of North Americans have X-ray evidence of osteoarthritis by age 65
- 60% have significant joint pain.
- Knee osteoarthritis has risen at an alarming rate over the last 50 years, reflecting changes from active agrarian or industrial lifestyles to a post-industrial society in which most people do not do a lot of physical labor and gain too much weight.
- Osteoarthritis may be caused mostly by lack of exercise, being overweight, eating a pro-inflammatory diet and having inadequate vitamin D levels (JAMA, November 22, 2017).
Exercise Helps to Prevent and Treat Knee Osteoarthritis
- An exercise program strengthening the muscles around the knee is more effective than removing broken cartilage from knees
- 750,000 knee arthroscopies are done in the United States each year, but surgery has not been shown to be more effective than exercise in treating knee osteoarthritis.
- Osteoarthritis always worsens with inactivity, so keep moving.
- Recommended low-impact sports include bicycling and swimming.
Source: Villages News
Here’s what she had to say about Osteoarthritis, her surgery and her recovery:
- The pain began to mess with my mind, and while my physical pain increased, it was compounded by emotional pain. After two years of battling my body and fighting the pain when I rode, I had to make a change. I spoke to a series of doctors, and we jointly determined that replacement surgery on both of my knees and hips was the right option for me. First my hips, then my knees – all within a 12-month period.
- Everyone’s recovery is different, but I worked really hard because I had a goal of getting back on my bike; therefore, my rehabilitation period was rather quick.