Preventing a Middle-Age Slump

Preventing a Middle-Age Slump

Satchel Paige was around 60 when he took the mound for the last time in 1965, throwing three shutout innings for the Kansas City Athletics. Clearly this super-star of the Negro League and the majors, embodied one of his favorite sayings: “Age is a question of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”

But a study reveals for many of you the middle years are a time of decline, not achievement—at least when it comes to health. A Duke University-lead team enrolled 775 participants of both genders and many races/ethnicities, age 30 to 100, and had them go through the paces: repeatedly rising from a chair for 30 seconds; standing on one leg for a minute; and walking for six minutes. Regardless of gender or other demographics, physical decline started showing up in the 50-year-olds.

That means as you reach your 50s you need to increase physical activity so you protect or increase agility, balance, speed and strength. That’ll help protect you from a precipitous decline that accompanies being overweight, inactive and inflexible—diabetes, immobility, obesity, heart disease and a roster of chronic problems from digestive woes to cancer.

So, today’s the day (at any age!) to start walking 10,000 steps daily; doing strength-building two to three days a week; jumping (you’ll get higher over time) 20 times twice a day; and practicing yoga for balance and flexibility. Then your next 50 years may be filled with as many (or more) interesting adventures as your first 50!

Medically reviewed in April 2018.

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