It Also Takes an Individual
The “It takes a community” paragraph in Dr. David Bruton’s comprehensive article on health care (“Some Musings on How We Pay for Health Care,” Dec. 9) caught my attention.
I finished medical school the same year as Dr. Bruton, so I feel that I can push the issue a bit and say it really takes an individual.
In the late 1970s, Gordon Whitman and I organized the first road race locally. It was a 10-mile out and back run down Midland Road with support of the Southern Pines Police Department.
We charged a small entrance fee and to our surprise raised $300, which was donated to the American Heart Association.
Our thought was that aerobic exercise was beneficial to an individual and hopefully the community would get the message. About that time, I was labeled the “running nut,” which is a badge I will gladly wear today.
Today, neuroscientists are very excited about the connection between exercise and the brain. Two of them at the University of Illinois found, in a meta analysis study, a significant positive effect of exercise on older people’s mental function.
These active seniors had higher levels of cognitive performance, and the highest level of this performance was achieved when resistance or weight training was added.
I have never exercised for longevity, but rather for a better quality of life. I have always had the notion that being fit compresses an individual’s morbidity, thus allowing for a quicker response to trauma or illness.
If that is true, we can expect to be more independent at the end of life.
I am deep into my 70s and now I exercise for brain health. When we are honest and get right down to it, a person is his or her brain.
See you in the gym!
Bill Newton, MD
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