I recently received an interesting infographic about the processes of aging. We all know those processes are inevitable. But some leading-edge thinkers and scientists believe we can reduce the amount of time that we are truly impaired by aging, more formally called compression of morbidity.
Grab a cup of coffee and take a reflective look at the infographic:
One morbid challenge confronting Boomers as they age, and not covered in the infographic, needs our attention more than any other fact of aging science. It is the most critical of all. Called sarcopenia, this challenge involves muscle wasting due to aging.
Sarcopenia derives from the Latin roots, "sarco" for muscle, and "penia" for wasting, making it a “muscle wasting disease.” Sarcopenia is a byproduct of the aging process, the progressive loss of muscle fiber that begins in middle age. The process starts in our 30s but, unchecked, leads to rapid deterioration in strength and endurance in the mid-60s. Without intervention, adults can lose as much as 8 percent of muscle mass every ten years.
Sarcopenia propels a cascade of other medical problems. Less muscle mass and strength leads to faster fatigue. Chronic fatigue leads to less physical activity and a more sedentary lifestyle. Less activity results in fat gain and obesity. Excess weight contributes to glucose intolerance, type II diabetes, and a condition called metabolic syndrome. This syndrome can then cause hypertension and increasing risk for cardiovascular disease. The end-state of sarcopenia is death.
Muscle wasting contributes dramatically to eldercare costs. Once older patients become incapable of the activities of daily living, such as rising unassisted from a recliner, they are usually institutionalized in nursing homes and assisted living facilities where most remain until death.
Boomers already know many ways to fight sarcopenia: proper nutrition, weight lifting (resistence training), stretching, and a regular fitness regimen. But over 40 percent of the generation is overweight or obese. So the problem is not knowledge; it is motivation.
And that brings this discussion to my next book, to be published later this fall. I've entitled the book WARRIOR: the Life and Lessons of a Man Who Beat Cancer for 57 Years.
I wrote Warrior to give all of us the motivation and insights necessary to adopt and maintain a wellness lifestyle until the end.
Some copy from the back cover:
A warrior who fought for life
Perhaps a teacher cared enough about you to sound an alarm. Or a caring friend. Or maybe a medical professional urged you to drop a bad habit and live healthier. And then you changed.
For Brent Green that life-change agent was Mark Crooks, a doctoral student in exercise physiology. After just one run with him through a city park, Brent cast off a seven-year cigarette habit and reoriented his thinking to wellness.
In honor of Mark—who succumbed to cancer in 2010 after battling for fifty-seven years with five occurrences—Brent wrote Warrior. This inspiring biographical novel celebrates a wellness mindset and shares life lessons bestowed by his friend.
This book will join other books covering how to maintain optimum health through life, especially in old age. And my biographical novel focuses on why. Why defy aging? Why refuse to go quietly into that dark night? Why survive?
Here is a sneak preview of the book cover:
In future blog posts, I will examine my new book in greater depth and explore its implications to anyone who is growing old and wants to fight back.