University of Birmingham Medical School, England. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Professor Janet Lord made an interesting presentation at the first AgeWell Conference at the University of Birmingham 2010, entitled “How to maintain a healthy immune system in old age”.
She was quoted as saying that, “the immune system declines with age”. However I have experienced exactly the contrary.
I am very nearly 94 and have experienced a dramatic improvement in my immune system during the last 3 years. Previously I suffered a cold just once a year- usually in November. During the last 3 years I have not had a cold nor suffered any complaints, or illnesses whatsoever. I no longer have a doctor.
Contrary to general opinion I believe that high intensity training and muscle building in old age are essential factors for successful aging.
There is not enough done to promote active lifestyles of the aged. The main problem is the fact that too little is known. Research on physical activity, diet or even the effect of work on health in old old age is practically nonexistent above the age of 70. It is a shocking fact that there are far too few healthy individuals above the age of 80 to be able to conduct meaningful research.
Responsibility rests with research facilities and promotion by government as well as health agencies. Most private health clubs do little or nothing to attract older people as members in spite of the fact that the aged have sufficient time and money.
Research has shown that older people prefer to train in groups of their own age. Besides this, the older member should be tested and goals set. The member should be retested at regular intervals and the results sent to their physician.
The results would become part of the patient’s medical history. Membership could in certain cases, as in Japan, be restricted to those above 70, or have an off-peak membership for the elderly. Ideally the coaches should also be of the same age group. Treatment of disease by exercise is receiving more attention by the medical profession but there is an extreme lack of cooperation between physicians and health clubs . This could be a huge opportunity. Almost all over 65 have one or more chronic diseases.
Some clubs in Germany are licensed to treat diabetes with exercise. Clubs could institute a food service together with supplements. There is so much more that clubs could do to attract more older people and I would be happy to discuss individually with every leisure chain CEO what could be beneficial.