Do you think you’re too old to exercise? According to Dr. John Ratey, Harvard psychiatrist and author of Go Wild and Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, it’s never too late to get in shape. At the 2017 BrainFutures conference, Dr. Ratey confirmed that you can stave off the aging process and prevent chronic diseases by exercising regularly and eating healthy.
Dr. Ratey gives two inspiring examples of older adults who made extraordinary lifestyle changes. Ernestine Shepherd, age 79, is a personal trainer, a professional model and competitive bodybuilder. At the age of 56, she was sedentary, overweight and had never worked out a day in her life. After being dissatisfied with her weight, she made the life-changing decision to get fit. Ernestine began running and lifting weights. Now, she competes in 10K races, runs marathons and lives a happier and more fulfilled life. Ernestine also provides training sessions to other senior women to help them reach their physical potential.
At 107 years old, Fauja Singh “has the bones of a 35-year-old.” Fauja’s secret to youth and happiness is no secret—he is a centenarian marathon runner. After the death of his wife and son, Fauja became depressed. It was not until he became a marathon runner that he found solace. Since, he has participated in international marathons from Toronto London, Glasgow, all the way to Hong Kong.
Dr. Ratey confirms, “our bodies respond to demands.” Although aging is inevitable, we can control how our bodies age. Regular workouts are the key to a healthier, longer life. Exercise can help make you stronger, prevent bone loss, improve balance and coordination, lift your mood, boost your memory, and ease the symptoms of many chronic conditions. Remember, your body only grows old when you stop exercising.