ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Health Tip: Anticipating Acupuncture
Acupuncture Cuts Dry Mouth in Cancer Patients
Wristbands May Lessen Nausea After Radiation
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Tai Chi May Help Ward Off Knee Pain in Seniors
Varicose, Spider Veins May Be Inevitable for Some
Chronic Low Back Pain Is on the Rise
CANCER
Selenium, Omega-3s May Stave Off Colorectal Cancer
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
Sharing Cancer Info May Be Empowering
CAREGIVING
Preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome
Rapid Infant Weight Gain Linked to Childhood Obesity
Critically Ill Patients Lack Vitamin D
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Bye, Bye Back Fat?
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
Bad Marriages Harder on Women's Health
COSMETIC
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
Gum Disease Treatment Doesn't Cut Preterm Birth Risk
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
DIABETES
Coffee, Tea Might Stave Off Diabetes
Vitamin K Slows Insulin Resistance in Older Men
Americans Consuming More Sugary Beverages
DIET, NUTRITION
Is Coffee Good or Bad for Your Health?
Even in 'Last Supper,' Portion Sizes Have Grown
Vitamin D Vital for the Heart
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Greenhouse Gases Hazardous to Your Health
Scorpion Anti-Venom Speeds Children's Recovery
Chemicals in Carpets, Non-Stick Pans Tied to Thyroid Disease
EYE CARE, VISION
Guard Kids' Eyes Against Long-Term Sun Damage
Stem Cells Repair Damaged Corneas in Mice
Just Like Skin, Eyes Can 'Burn' in Strong Sun
FITNESS
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
Diet, Exercise May Slow Kidney Disease Progression
Daily Exercise at School Yields Rewards
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
GENERAL HEALTH
To Quit Smoking, Try Logging On
Play Creatively as a Kid, Be a Healthier Adult
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Walk Long, Slow and Often to Help the Heart
Quitting Smoking Doubles Survival in Early Stage Lung Cancer
Too-Low Blood Pressure Can Also Bring Danger
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Backpack Safety Should Be on Back-to-School Lists
Pool Chemicals Raise Kids Allergy, Asthma Risk
Boosting Kids' Stroke IQ May Save Lives
MEN'S HEALTH
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
MENTAL HEALTH
Music Soothes Anxiety as Well as Massage Does
Optimism May Boost Immune System
Teen Internet Addicts More Likely to Self-Harm: Study
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Yoga's Benefits Outweigh Risks for Pregnant Women
SENIORS
Older People at Greater Risk of Swine Flu Death
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Vitamin D May Help Keep Aging at Bay
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Spice Compounds May Stem Tumor Growth
Vitamin D Deficiency Puts 40% of U.S. Infants and Toddlers At Risk
Supportive Weigh-In Program Keeps Pounds Off
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.