ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Know Your Asthma Triggers
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Indian Spice May Thwart Liver Damage
Soybean Chemicals May Reduce Effects of Menopause
Supplement Hampers Thyroid Cancer Treatment
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Safe Toys for Dogs
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Tai Chi May Help Ward Off Knee Pain in Seniors
Yoga Can Ease Lower Back Pain
Fall Sports Peak Time for Lower Leg Damage
CANCER
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
Many Ignore Symptoms of Bladder Trouble
CAREGIVING
Health Tip: Benefitting From Adult Day Care
More Than 60,000 Patients Risked Hepatitis Infections
Mild Flu Season Coming to a Close
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
Health Tip: Are You Anemic?
Grapefruit-Heavy Diet Helped Spur Dangerous Clot
COSMETIC
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
DENTAL, ORAL
Scientists Find Gene for Tooth Enamel
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
A Sweet Way to Shield Baby's Teeth
DIABETES
Formula Puts Doctor, Patient Glucose Readings on Same Page
Spices, Herbs Boost Health for Diabetics
Findings Challenge Tight Glucose Control for Critically Ill Patients
DIET, NUTRITION
Licorice May Block Absorption of Organ Transplant Drug
10 Beginner Tips for Fast Weight Loss, the Low-Carb Way!
Adults Need To Get Thier Food Facts Straight
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Gas Cooking Might Up Your Cancer Risk
Stomach Germ May Protect Against Asthma
Hairspray Exposure Ups Risk for Birth Defect in Sons
EYE CARE, VISION
Too Much Sun, Too Few Antioxidants Spell Eye Trouble
Music Can Help Restore Stroke Patients' Sight
Time Teaches Brain to Recognize Objects
FITNESS
When It Comes to Lifting, the Pros Have Your Back
Vigorous Exercise Can Cut Breast Cancer Risk
Research Confirms How Valuable A Healthy Lifestyle Can Be
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
GENERAL HEALTH
Smog Tougher on the Obese
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Eat Light - Live Longer
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Quitting Smoking Doubles Survival in Early Stage Lung Cancer
Psychiatric Drugs Might Raise Cardiac Death Risk
Lack of Vitamin D Linked to High Blood Pressure
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Music May Temper Pain in Preemies
Winter's Bitter Cold Poses Health Dangers
Even Young Kids Can Learn CPR
MEN'S HEALTH
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
Countdown to Hair Loss
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
Eight Spiritual Universal Principles in the Art of Practice
Breast-Fed Baby May Mean Better Behaved Child
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
SENIORS
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
For Older Walkers, Faster Is Better
Money May Matter, Health-Wise, in Old Age
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Exercise During Pregnancy Keeps Newborn Size Normal
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
Add your Article

Fitness Fades Fast After 45

(HealthDay News) -- The declines in fitness that accompany growing old typically speed up after the age of 45, new research shows.

But people can slow the inevitable by staying lean, exercising and refraining from smoking.

The findings, appearing in the Oct. 26 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, are not so surprising in light of the piles of other research that have drawn similar conclusions.

But the new study has broad implications, given the rising number of older adults in the United States and the explosion in the sedentary, overweight and aging population.

"The Social Security Administration actually has an aerobic capacity threshold. If you're below the threshold, you are considered disabled," said study author Andrew Jackson.

This means more people could qualify for government disability benefits at a younger age, further draining an already strained economy.

This study group included 3,429 women and 16,889 men aged 20 to 96 who had undergone two to 33 health exams with lifestyle counseling between 1974 and 2006.

Reductions in cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) were not seen as a straight downward line. Instead, after the age of 45, the slope became much steeper, accelerating even further with increases in body-mass index (BMI), smoking and lower levels of physical activity.

"We've known that, as you age, your aerobic capacity goes down, and the exercise physiology literature indicates it's a linear relationship. We found that this is not the case," said Jackson, who is professor emeritus of health and human performance at the University of Houston. "It makes sense to me. When things aren't working right, we tend to go down at faster rates. This was true for both men and women [although the rate of decline was faster for men than for women]."

Taking care of yourself could make you, in a sense, younger than your years.

"If you were overweight, inactive and smoked, your aerobic capacity would be lower at a given age as compared to other people who were healthy weight, active and nonsmokers," Jackson said. "The data showed that if people had that advantage when they were in their 30s and 40s and maintained that lifestyle, their aerobic capacity as they aged was, in fact, higher."

"It could delay the age when these health problems start to spring up," he continued. "If people are very overweight, inactive and smoke, they might see these health problems in their 50s and 60s, whereas people who maintain a healthy lifestyle, it's going to be more like their 70s, 80s and possibly even their 90s."

"You have to exercise. It's now becoming established fact, and if you don't incorporate it, you're going to see the effects. You will get sicker sooner," added Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, director of women and heart disease for Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City and a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association. "Exercise is the most potent medication around, and the Social Security Administration agrees with me."

A second study in the same issue of the journal provides a measure of good news. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia found that blacks who partnered with a family member or friend to lose weight actually did lose pounds -- but only if the partner also lost weight.

SOURCES: Andrew S. Jackson, P.E.D., F.A.C.S.M., professor emeritus, health and human performance, University of Houston; Suzanne Steinbaum, M.D., director, women and heart disease, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City, and spokeswoman, American Heart Association; Oct. 26, 2009, Archives of Internal Medicine.