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I think one of the debates  that people have to pay attention to is the ” use it or lose it” aspect of approaching the aging process. This can refer to the brain agility and social ability ,  but I right now I am focusing on  general levels of activity and fitness.  Again for longevity sake,  we are told constantly what to do and not do. Anything you do should be discussed with your medical person.

A while back ,before I read the Blue Zone theories (Dan Buettner  of the National Geographic studies)  on why people live to their late nineties and beyond, I had read an article that proposed that  men over 70 who keep up a pace of 3.0 miles per hour walking are literally outpacing the Grim Reaper= death. If you are walking at  2 miles an hour  the Grim Reaper will catch up to you!    This was the finding of  study  in Australia of men ( not women of course)  that got published in the British Medical  Journal  in 2011.  It then of course splashed around  in the popular media was forgotten like most of the advice your read online.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22174324

http://vitals.nbcnews.com/_news/2011/12/15/9476122-walk-3-mph-or-faster-to-outpace-the-grim-reaper-scientists-

Now I have to admit in my walks and  time on the treadmill I have not gone below that and do want to keep that as my goal.  I will never run 10Ks again, and my jogging days are also over and I still both of my original knees. I would like to join that women hiking group but..not so sure.    I am not being a captive of this measure of fitness as much as a grateful  recipient to how it makes me feel. It is not too much- not too little.   I do not consider it my personal best rather my individual  answer to what is going to keep me active the longest.

Going back to the Blue Zones books, they describe what some  would consider a hard life (  having to chop wood to bake that wonderful sourdough bread)   Where’s the bread machine?   Those that live to 100 in these unique communities never seem  to give up on  doing their own chores. The mantra to be active every 20 minutes is kind of daunting.

Meanwhile the marketing forces for the  retirement communities scream you will  have  time to do what you really want to pursue other things. A senior moment can be taking Tango lessons? Where do you get the energy for those sessions?

There any studies that compare activity level in seniors and  longevity outcomes. I have to pursue some more information.   What about the level of contentment when favorable activities are  no longer available.   People give up gardening because of  many reasons,  frustration with climate change being  one.  You can’t reliably grow what you use to.  But also the stooping and kneeling  gets harder.  So the people  in Sardinia are out their digging up their turnips all year round.  It is a big part of aging and aging in place to have to decide how much you will be personally physically responsible for and what you hand over to those who can shovel your snow, mow your lawn.

Where am I going with this? Quality of life always matters, do what makes you be able to do what you want.  Whether it is dance, or biking, swimming, walking around the block.  Set your own goals and be your won best watchdog of it