Is it really all downhill from here?

Hello 2008 and Hello big Four Oh! Yes, this is the year I turn 40 … if I were a pessimist that means my best years are already behind me. Check this out:


  • Aerobic Capacity peaks during your 20s and 30s then drops as much as 10% per decade
  • Maximal heart rate decreases as you get older
  • Physical strength peaks at around 25 years of age, plateaus through 35 to 40 years of age and then declines at an accelerating rate
  • Calcium loss can begin as early as age 30
  • Sexuality peaks at 35 for women and 18 for men
  • Mental acuity peaks between the ages of 30 and 35
  • Total amount of sleep declines as you get older
  • Starting at the age of 25, the basal metabolic rate drops 5% every decade.  In other words, you can look forward to losing 1/2 to 1/3 of a pound of muscle every year while gaining at least that amount in body fat
  • Your brain loses up to 20% of its neurons after the age of 45, making it significantly smaller and less useful
  • Cholesterol increases with age
  • Blood Pressure (like taxes) tends to increase as we age.

O.K. – have I got you thoroughly depressed … is this really what we have to look forward to?  Should we all just give up and curl up on the couch with a bag of Doritos in one hand and a bag of Oreos in the other?

Thankfully that’s only half of the story; I’m no pessimist – I consider my glass half full with more to come. Here’s the good news:

The best preserved 65-year-old may out-perform a sedentary 25-year-old!

It really is a matter of how you take care of yourself.  Healthy eating, regular exercise, a positive attitude, plenty of rest, drinking enough water, healthy relationships and minimizing stress can decrease all of the ‘natural’ effects of aging?

I plan to attack my 40s with more vim and vigour than ever.  It’s true -- 40 is the new 20 (maybe it’s the new 30, but I feel like I’m 20).  I will run my first marathon this year and fully intend to have my best year ever.

So what’s wrong with downhill?  I’m going to use that hill to go tobogganing, skiing, running and whatever else I can do on a hill.

Who’s with me? Let’s use this year to change the statistics on what aging means. Make 2008 your healthiest year ever!

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