On the Run blog: You are never too old to exercise

WTOP’s Paula Wolfson chronicled her quest for a Marine Corps Marathon finisher’s medal in her “On the Run” blog. She now turns her attention to the athletic pursuits of others and the challenge of mixing family, work and fitness in our busy lives “on the run.”

Paula Wolfson, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – I am in awe of Betty Lowenstein.

She is 85 years young and when I grow up, I want to be just like her.

Betty, who lives in D.C., is as fit and sharp as they come. So what is the secret to her fountain of youth?

You guessed it, it’s exercise. And she says she has been doing it “forever.”

Through the years, a lot of research has focused on regular exercise’s positive impact on the body. But now we’re learning it can also help protect your brain.

A recent international study actually found moderate exercise, just 30 minutes three times a week, can significantly reduce the risk of dementia in folks already older than age 65.

Or, as Betty explains it, (and I love this analogy): “It is like the tin woodsman with the oil can. Exercise is the oil can that keeps everything functioning when you think you are going to rust into place.”

We already know that the folks who are most fit at midlife are more likely to live both and better lives with a lower risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and even Alzheimer’s disease. But this latest research underscores what a lot of fitness experts have been saying for a long time. It is never too late to start.

Here are some tips to get moving.

Local trainer and fellow marathoner Denese Waldman knows a lot about the impact fitness can have on our later years.

She works almost exclusively with seniors, and most of her clients are in their 70s, 80s and beyond.

She says they’re still very sharp and witty, and she’s sure exercise has a lot to do with that.

“It’s preventative medicine,” she says, adding that we all know seniors who don’t move much and aren’t very strong physically or mentally.

If that logic holds, every time I lace up my running shoes, head to the gym or hop on the bike, I am investing in my future.

And Betty and her friends in Waldman’s exercise class provide living proof. That exercise stuff? It really works!

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