Baby Boomers have reached the age when each new day brings the distinct possibility that one of us will drop dead.
As a group, we are now between 53 and 71 years old. I’m smack in the middle at 61. To date about 4 million of us have departed leaving around 77 million left.
Why raise this morbid topic? Lots of reasons…
“And I’m gone, like dancing on angels.
And I’m gone, through a crack in the past.”
Dead Man Walking: David Bowie
We need to wake the F up
Like many Boomers, I grew up with the sense that we would always be young and the world was ours — forever.
Maybe it was sort’a true in our 20’s and 30’s. Not so much now.
In addition to Boomer icons like David Bowie and Prince, we recently lost the terrific actor Bill Paxton. He died as a result of complications during a surgery. Like me, he was 61.
I had my own close call recently while in the hospital for what was supposed to be an out-patient procedure. “Complications” with medications led to an 8 day stay, including several days in ICU where my vital signs crashed to extremely dangerous levels. It was touch and go for a couple of days.
It’s estimated that 90,000 Americans die each year in hospitals due to medical mistakes or infections.
Gives you pause to think…
Heart attacks are our #1 Killer
But those numbers pale in comparison to the more than 600,000 annual deaths by heart attack.
I’ll use myself as an example here so as not to point fingers at you. I’ve been flat out stupid at times.
At 48, I suffered a mild heart attack. Instead of calling 911, I laid on the ground berating myself over the possibility that it was a heart attack. I was too young for that sort of stigma. It would wreck my life. No way, not happening.
I eventually got back up, went in the house, packed my suitcase and the next morning flew to another city for a week’s worth of work. By the end of the week, I turned white as a bed sheet. I went to see my doctor when I returned home.
He flipped out. The next thing I knew, I was checked into a hospital. Open heart surgery. Triple bypass.
The best result of that experience was my purchase of an elliptical trainer and the addition of cardio to my regular workout routine. Plus I see a cardiologist on a regular basis and annually undergo tests to make sure my heart is good. So far, so good.
But up until the heart attack, I had never been diagnosed with a heart problem. It just hit me one day out of nowhere. I’m very lucky to have survived, in spite of myself.
Cancer is #2
Closely behind heart disease in annual death rates, cancer takes nearly 600,000 people each year. If you’re like me, you’ve always thought of cancer as one of those inevitable things you’re either going to get or not.
Obviously, there are some big things you can avoid to prevent it – like smoking, excessive sun, etc.
But I always assumed there wasn’t much you could actively do to prevent cancers, other than dropping those bad habits.
Turns out, you can do something about it. In fact, the list of practical things you can do is the same for preventing both heart disease and cancer. A recent study by the American Heart Association found that people who practiced heart healthy habits also had a 38% lesser chance of contracting cancer.
Let that soak in for a moment. You can take steps to save yourself from the two biggest killers. The #1 practice on the list is to be active — exercise regularly, at least 30 minutes 5 days per week. And #2, keeping a healthy weight, is closely related to exercise. It’s estimated that two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese.
Resistance training is the best way to workout. It burns calories and fat while adding healthy muscle. Throw in some cardio after each resistance workout and you’ve got a powerful combination.
See the menu category Workout Guides for articles on how to get started. If you aren’t currently exercising, get going now. It’s never too late to start.
You can see the entire list of 7 key steps here in this article by the prestigious Cleveland Clinic.
“Research continues to confirm that you can control your health. By following a few simple strategies, we can dramatically reduce the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer,” said A. Marc Gillinov, MD, cardiac surgeon in Cleveland Clinic’s Heart & Vascular Institute.
Cardio can save your life
I’m convinced that it saved my mine.
I am a huge believer in Precor’s line of products. I have 3 Precor pieces in my home gym: an older model elliptical that still works great, a stretching unit and the ultimate cardio trainer on the planet, the Precor AMT.
The beauty of these products is that they are no-imact on your knees. And due to their unique designs, you can vary your workouts to include moveable elevations and resistance levels. There is no better designed cardio gear than Precor.
It’s worth the investment, considering the payout can be your health and well being.
I purchased mine more than 12 years ago following the heart surgery. My problem: I have a right knee that hangs by a thread. Pounding away on a tread mill or the street is out.
Enter Precor with their patented motorized cross ramp. Awesome. Variable height and degrees of resistance. Workouts on this machine are actually fun. You can get both cardio and resistance-training benefits at the same time.
This is the ultimate in zero impact cardio training. This machine is nothing short of amazing. I bought mine a couple years ago as a stable mate to my EFX elliptical.
The AMT — Adaptive Motion Trainer — is an amazing piece of design and engineering. It actually adapts to your motion as you run/step/stride along. No buttons to push, the machine adapts to you.
My wife is 5’2″ and I’m 6’4″ and we both use it comfortably. Amazing machine. Not cheap, but worth every penny in my opinion.
An in-depth review of the Precor AMT can be found here.
Ever had a close call? How is your health today? Please share your thoughts in comments below. And feel free to drop me a line at Brian@BoomerMuscle.com