“Get on your feet and off your seat; don’t sit and knit”

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“Get on your feet and off your seat; don’t sit and knit” (Flo & Bert, 2017).

Staying fit through the life course takes: “adjustment, work, and a stout-sense of knowing aches and pains may exist, but lessen with work”, according to Bert and Flo. They’re 70-somethings who make some 30-somethings look sedentary by comparison. Their routines include: dancing 3-nights-a-week, lifting weights at a gym 4-days-a-week, or 3, depending on how the week falls, walking daily, swimming 3-times-a-week, doing yard-work, and doing house-work. It’s easiest to summarize their views in the title, however, the medical community supports their views, and have for many years.

McDermott & Mernitz (2006) argued a combination of aerobic activity, strength training, flexibility, and ‘general-daily-activity’, reduces medical dependence, and health care costs, and helps maintain ‘functional-independence while improving life qualify among older adults.

While watching the video, you’ll see Bert and Flo consistently tout the value of each type of these exercises, and how they incorporated them into their routines. Still, there’s more support.

From the American Heart Association and the American College of Sports Medicine, to Bert’s embedded point within the video of the body being much like a ‘rubber band’ as it ages, ‘needing use to keep from breaking’: “exercise plays a key role in slowing bone loss” (Haskell, et al., 2007). They contend that muscle’s tethered to bone by tendons and increased physical activity increases density and strength of the bones and helps tendon usability. Further, gravity resistant exercises, exactly like Bert and Flo use, (walking, strength training, dancing, yard work, etc.) provide ‘great benefits’ (Haskell, et al., 2007).

Arguably, the most important point Flo and Bert make, resides in the catch-phrases they used: get on your feet and off your seat; don’t sit and knit. Owen, et al., (2010), vehemently support these assertions. They contend: for each hour of sedentary behavior associated with non-movement, including TV time, video games, driving, and other behaviors, increased risks of 11 to 18% of cardio vascular diseases exist. For 2 hours per day, the risk jumps to 46% all the way to 80% for four or more hours of sedentary behavior. They also point out, these risks increase with factors like smoking, and elevated blood pressure, as well as poor dietary choices and elevated cholesterol (Owen, et al., 2010).

Clearly, for seniors, those of us in middle age, like me, and those in their 40s, and younger, exercise plays a key role in staying fit. We all know that. The question becomes: will we heed the advice of successful seniors like Bert and Flo? The choice, clearly, resides in our decisions. And, as a contributor, as well as originator of “Your Level Best”, I hope you decide to get off your seat and on your feet. Whether you sit and knit, or sit and watch the nightly news, your fate, along with longevity rests with you.

Love to all: Tony.

References

Haskell, W. L., Lee, I.-M., Pate, R. R., Powell, K. E., Blair, S. N., Franklin, B. A., … Bauman, A. (2007). Physical activity and public health: Updated recommendation for adults from the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 39(8), 1423–1434. https://doi.org/10.1249/mss.0b013e3180616b27

Mcdermott, A. Y., & Mernitz, H. (2006). Exercise and older patients: prescribing guidelines. American Family Physician, 74(3). 437-444. Retrieved from http://www.aafp.org/afp/2006/0801/p437.html

Owen, N., Healy, G. N., Matthews, C. E., & Dunstan, D. W. (2010). Too Much Sitting: The Population Health Science of Sedentary Behavior. Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews, 38(3), 105–113. https://doi.org/10.1097/JES.0b013e3181e373a2

 

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