Wednesday, November 25, 2009

How long can we expect to remain active and how acive can we remain? How fast will our capacity diminish with age?

I just read a blog post that takes a shot at working out:
A lot of people (boomers?) seem to be convinced that if they lift one more weight or run one more mile, they will never get old. Even if you don’t succumb to cosmetic surgery or spend too much money on expensive anti-aging creams that don’t work, there comes a day, I think, when it’s too much effort any longer to keep up the pretense.
Fear of aging and death are obviously not the only reasons we lift weights or run, but I'm not deluding myself that this will go on forever -- how long can we remain active and how active can we remain? How fast will our capacity diminish with age?

There is no comprehensive answer to these questions, but there are hints and anecdotes. For example, we can estimate the optimistic upper limit by profiling outstanding people of various ages. We can also analyze speed records and other performance measures as Alan Jones and his colleagues have done for running. And, although it may not be politically correct, we can look at the affect of drugs and supplements like testosterone -- do they slow our losses? Are they safe?

I will look at each of these -- unusually fit people, data analysis and drugs and supplements -- in future posts.
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