In a German study of over 300 people, those who began exercising in their forties were half as likely to develop heart disease as people who never exercised. Interestingly enough, that risk reduction is nearly the same as that realized by people who have been sweating their butts off in the gym since they were in their teens and early twenties. So, you see, it is possible to play catch-up with your health.One of my irrational fears is a fatalistic sense that I am going to die young like most of the men in my family. When my Dad passed, I started a morbid countdown. By my old reckoning I have 11 years to live.
I find two words of comfort in the Rothenbacher study.
First, I have a chance to change my destiny by living differently than my ancestors. I can move more, eat less, and ingest fewer poisons than they did.
Second, I can stop feeling bad about waiting so long to start. Turns out exercising before you are 40 is a waste of time!
Think I'll go lift weighs and quietly pity the beautiful young people who could be home watching TV and eating ice cream for the next twenty years.
Of course after that, they'll have to really bear down.
The photo of Pennsy's next health club is from the UK website Church Urban Fund.
That's UK the country, not the basketball team who are having a decidedly up and down year.