The ‘Well-Being’ post from last week was foremost in my mind as Mrs. tVM and I hiked up the Casa Grande Mountain Radio Tower Trail his morning.  A mere 2-mile out-and-back hike, we stopped to catch our breath more than once.  You see, over the 1-mile hike to the summit, one climbs 994 feet.  That might have been a no-brainer 10 years ago, but I found it challenging this morning.  I must reveal that the final ½ mile is paved in textured concrete to give sure grip to one’s shoes.  Good thing… that final ½ mile would have been difficult without it.

We breathed heavily and our thighs ached when we reached the summit, but ‘the glow,’ the fervor and joy we shared looking 1,000 feet down to the distant trailhead far outweighed any physical or mental pain associated with the climb.

Earlier in the week, I read “A 30-Year Follow-up of the Dallas Bed Rest and Training Study, Effect of Age on the Cardiovascular Response to Exercise” that appeared a year ago in the American Heart Association magazine “Circulation.”  The short course… in 1966, five healthy 20-year old men were studied after 3 weeks of bed rest and after 8 weeks of exercise training.  The study’s objective was to assess the effect of a 30-year interval on body composition and cardiovascular response to acute exercise in the same men originally evaluated in 1966.

I lay no claim to be a physician or medical researcher and the technical ‘mumbo jumbo’ in the article is well above my capacity to fully understand, but the researchers’ conclusions make sense to me.  Here is a sampling…

Most notably, 3 weeks of bedrest in these same men at 20 years of age (1966) had a more profound impact on physical work capacity than did three decades of aging.

Physical activity is important for the maintenance of cardiovascular capacity. The short-term physical inactivity of 3 weeks of bedrest in the 1966 study of these 5 subjects when they were healthy young men caused a more profound reduction in VO2max (the measurement of the maximum amount of oxygen a person can utilize during intense exercise) than did 30 years of aging, reemphasizing the detrimental effects of inactivity so clearly demonstrated in the 1966 study.

These observed relationships suggest that much of the age-associated decline may be avoidable or reversible with regular exercise.

Therein lies the message I gleaned from the article

“…much of the age-associated decline may be avoidable or reversible with regular exercise.”

The point of regular exercise and wise diet is not to extend life, rather improve the quality of life, to improve well-being.

If these things have not crossed your mind, think about them now.  One is not required to climb Mt. Everest to enhance ‘glow’ and achieve well-being.  A simple walk will do.  Regardless of the exercise regimen you choose, the operative word is REGULAR!

Mitakuye Oyasin

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