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Old 08-05-2016, 10:51 AM   #21
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There are several over 80's that exercise at our gym (YMCA). They also spend a lot of time talking while exercising and in the coffee area afterwards. I think the social interaction is as big an attraction as the exercise, and possibly just as beneficial.

Last year in Canmore, Canada, my wife and I had climbed a local peak, Ha Ling, and were feeling pretty good about it as we made our way back down when we stopped to talk to an old guy on his way up. He had the same accent as myself and although he now lives in Canmore he in fact grew up just a few miles away from me in County Durham, England (he still owns a house there). He said he was 78 years old and this was his 5th peak in 10 days. I expect he will still be exercising in his 80's.
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Old 08-05-2016, 10:58 AM   #22
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While I'm sure everyone can point to people who are over 80 and still going strong, can anyone point to someone in that age group who attributes their health at an advanced age to exercise and diet? I don't mean just the occasional golf game, but regular workouts and such.
My mother was a visiting home health care nurse for the local municipality, and probably > 90% of her patients were seniors. She had no doubt that lifestyle differences figured in their quality of life and how long they lived independently at home. For her, weight control, strength and balance were critical success factors. There wasn't much one could do to avoid terminal illnesses, such as cancer, but what made people dependent on others and unable to live alone were chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, or falling and breaking a bone. Or, after an injury, being unable (or unwilling) to carry out the therapy needed to recover.

She never visited a gym but walked and gardened daily and played tennis regularly until she was in her late 70's. She was also very active socially and played bridge 3-4 times per week.
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Old 08-05-2016, 11:15 AM   #23
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A guy at my gym--who I call "coach" because he's always giving people workout advice--is 86 and looks (and acts) about 65. He's been working out since he was in his twenties when he was a bodybuilder (he actually showed me pictures of he and other bodybuilders posing back then in a pic with Mae West!)

He attributes his excellent health to a lifetime of attention to diet and exercise, although he consciously does not work out at all as hard as he did when he was younger. He has told me that aging is all in the mind, and he definitely serves as an outstanding role model for me.
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Old 08-05-2016, 11:31 AM   #24
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I worked in Boston, right across the street from the Chinatown YMCA. I swam there at 5am and the whole place, almost, was Chinese seniors at that time. Of the regulars I'd say there were about 8 in their 80's. Some of them did water walking in the pool, some did the strength and aerobic machines. None of them had trouble walking or had weight problems. It was amazing and heartening, although probably a good part of it is genetics.

Can't comment on diet b/c the women did not speak English. Guessing traditional diet.
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Old 08-05-2016, 02:16 PM   #25
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There is an 85-year-old man at our gym who is notorious for complaining when they replaced Concept D rowing machines with Life Fitness ones, which he said were "too easy." Apparently he proved it,too - set the machine to the highest level, then pulled for 30 minutes and barely broke a sweat. His face is very aged-looking (sun damage?) but his body looks great.
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Old 08-05-2016, 02:55 PM   #26
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I would not be surprised if longevity is more of the genes you inherit and then do you do anything to screw that up. Like smoking or drinking in excess or never moving, etc. Both my Mom's parents lived a long time considering the normal age for people at that time. My Dad had parents that lived a very long time but he was a smoker and also a tool grinder before they used protective equipment so that shortened his life span considerably.
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Old 08-05-2016, 03:15 PM   #27
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My stepmom was doing water fitness classes at the Y until 2 years ago. (She just turned 89). She still swims laps 2-3 times a week at her senior community.

She also still works (which is what I thought this thread was about till I reread the title). She's a nursing educator (PhD nurse) and teaches online statistics courses for nurses. She keep trying to quit and keeps getting drawn back in. Her older brother worked till age 90... doing rounds at the teaching hospital he helped found... He finally let his medical license lapse when his back pain got too bad. (He died at age 93... so he had a *short* retirement.)

Stepmom uses a walker/wheelchair following a broken hip... but insists on staying fit - using the pool. She is amazing.
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Old 08-05-2016, 03:21 PM   #28
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There are a few people at the gym who I'm sure are over 80 but I only know of one for sure - he's 83 and told me that in a conversation. But he also attributes his health to eating right and getting a good set of genes. He looks ~70.

For myself, I'm 66 and can tell if I skip a day at the gym. Next time it is noticeably harder to do the exercises. And when I took a two and a half month layoff because of surgery and then an injury, on some machines I could only lift half of what I was. My doctor told me it would take exercising twice as long as the layoff to get back where I was. The atrophy sets in fast and is a bear to work away.
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Old 08-05-2016, 03:27 PM   #29
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My dad died last year at 92. Up until the last few months of his life he golfed 2x per week and went to the gym regularly.


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Old 08-05-2016, 03:31 PM   #30
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Talking with friends today who told me a good story about a friend of theirs who was still riding his bike well into his 80's and he lives just outside of Whitby, Yorkshire at the top of a very steep hill. Last year, to everyone's relief he finally stopped riding his bike. (They were worried about his safety on the roads).

He said that he decided to stop biking one day when he was riding up that hill and a coke can, blown by the wind, overtook him.
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Old 08-05-2016, 03:42 PM   #31
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So got curious and looked this up and basically the genes matter more once you hit your 80's and before that it is lifestyle factors.
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Old 08-05-2016, 04:20 PM   #32
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So got curious and looked this up and basically the genes matter more once you hit your 80's and before that it is lifestyle factors.
Sure, but a fit person will begin the inevitable decline from a much higher starting point. A person with good muscle mass and bone density might escape a bad fall with just some scrapes and bruises, whereas an unfit person might end up with a broken hip or worse, which can lead to a downward spiral. And when a person is healthy, the body can devote more of its resources to healing the injury, rather than having to also fight various other ailments.
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Old 08-05-2016, 04:24 PM   #33
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Yes, I agree. I think that is why my Mom survived 3 different bouts of cancer and a few TIA's with no residual effects because she took such good care of herself and was stubborn. She lived alone until 1 week before she died. She was almost 90.
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Old 08-05-2016, 04:39 PM   #34
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I know many +80 year olds that attribute their health to exercise.

We're both ambassadors for the sport of pickleball and I know of dozens of people in the 80+ bracket that play competitively. Most come from a tennis or raquetball background and play sometimes 6x/week for 2 hours per session.

The oldest player that I know of is 94 and she plays just about every day and is constantly lobbying her local community government to add more pickleball courts.

The oldest player in our own club is 92. He stopped playing for awhile and we were concerned that he was slowing down. Turns out he had a new girlfriend who didn't play and she was annoyed that he was gone so much... the girlfriend is gone (don't know what happened) and he's back on the courts.
what is pickleball? Never heard of it.
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Old 08-05-2016, 05:00 PM   #35
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I don't think there are any 80+ in my gym, but certainly plenty of folks in their 70s who are in pretty darn good shape. As I do play softball, there are several players in our 65 and up division that are in their 80s, and the way they move, you would never know it. I play in a 55 and up division and there are I believe 2 players that are in their 80s and still capable of hitting line drives.
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Old 08-05-2016, 05:00 PM   #36
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I know a fella, he is 91, just replaced his treadmill as he wore out the other one.
He is on the tread mill many times per week.
He just painted his upper hallway, he had to build himself a scaffolding to put the ladder on.
Then he went and bought an arc welder as he wanted to weld up a metal frame to put a piano on wheels so he can move it around.
He also controls his diabetes by diet, and is really strict about no sugar and not much in carbs. He is not overweight at all, again the food intake watching.

Honestly I don't think I have the will power like he does, so I'm fated to die younger.
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Old 08-05-2016, 05:02 PM   #37
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My Uncle is 95, he had to give up cutting down trees and chopping them into firewood when he got too old at 85
He was always active, including golfing, walks, swimming whenever I saw him.
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Old 08-07-2016, 03:59 PM   #38
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Two of my gym friends are over 90. The 92-year-old didn't start working out until after he retired in his 60s. He's lean as a limb and sharp as a tack. Comes in every day to play racquetball, use the weight machines, and gab with his many friends there. The other guy is 93. He's slower and less agile mentally and physically, but still comes in several times a week to ride the bike and use the weight machines.

Now my parents were together for 65 years, both quite active because they ran a restaurant, but quite different physically. Dad was overweight much of his life, and though he was very sharp he tended to be a bit introverted and melancholy, Type B. Mom is petite and more high-strung, Type A. Always busy at something, not the type to vegetate in front of the TV, as dad started doing later in life. They had a similar diet all those years, lots of red meat, dairy, and processed food. Dad ended up with heart disease, and prostate, colon, and bladder cancer, and two broken hips, but made it to 87, though with very poor quality of life for the last 7 or 8 years. Mom's still going ball-o'fire-strong at 87.

Seems to me that genetics is a major factor in longevity, another 80/20 example. People stay active largely because their body type lets them. But that 20% can make a big different. I'd bet that if my dad had pushed himself to exercise, and also kept current on his cancer screenings, he'd still be around in fair shape today.
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Old 08-07-2016, 06:30 PM   #39
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Dad, just had his 98th B'day yesterday and is fit as a fiddle though can't exercise any longer. In his 80's was playing tennis,swimming and would walk 5 miles every morning on the beach in front of his house. He is another everything in moderation guy and was drinking beer and eating wurst's at a local German restaurant to celebrate.
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Old 08-07-2016, 06:33 PM   #40
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I have 3 ladies in my water aerobics class in their 80s. The 80 year old is quite heavy, and uses a walker when on land, but has a great personality-quite sassy! The 86-year-old is my across the street neighbor. She is quiet and has lots of family around, although her husband died within the last year. The 88-year-old is my hero, tiny and sassy, but I've noticed in the last year she is not as strong. When the water is pouring out of the water slide, I have let her take my arm to get past the current. All 3 live in their own home and drive to class.
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