And even as 'old age' (whatever that is, these days) approaches, more and more of us are attempting to stay fit.
But why the relative youngsters who produce these statistics are surprised, I do not know. It's obvious, isn't it, that there can be no greater motivation to exercise and stay fit than the certain knowledge that if you don't, every year you'll get a bit more decrepit, a bit more creaky and stiff, the old muscles will get weaker for sure and all the bits that used to be firm will go flabby and soft. You'll also, of course, die younger, all other factors being equal, so other research assures us.
The less you do, the less you're inclined to do - and the reduction of fitness as we get older really is one of the most vicious of circles.
So I always take great inspiration from stories of older people who are exercise fanatics and who are incredibly fit. How about Tao Porchon-lynch, who at 93 is the world's oldest yoga teacher, is slim, vital and looks about 60 (face) and 40 (body). Years ago, she was a champion dancer - I guess you can't come to yoga at 90 or something and hope to be doing a forearm stand in a couple of weeks. But still.... there are cases of people in their sixties taking up marathon running and other sports and literally rejuvenating their bodies and their lives.
My motivation as I head towards 63 is merely to stay supple and strong enough to live the life I want to lead - an independent one. That's all I want. And, as such, I'm back on course with it all and flying. Every time I don't feel like getting on the rower or doing that 2-mile walk, I picture myself at 80 or so, if I don't. It's enough. It truly is.
Oh, and PS - does anyone else absolutely love Janet Street-Porter? Every time she writes one of her opinion pieces in the papers, I virtually always agree with every word. She's a no-nonsense person and I admire her greatly. More than any other female, I believe she's a fantastic role model for us of a similar age in many ways, not least for her determination and her energy levels. She's one person who will still be climbing hills and hiking for miles when she's in her 90s, for sure.
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