Thursday, March 09, 2006

Self-Delusion and the Scale

Ever run into someone middle-aged, or a senior, who claims to be fit simply because, “I weigh the same as I did in high school”? Well, old Jack LaLanne had that kind of self-delusion figured out long ago. He has always told people to forget the scale. Instead, he says to put a tape measure around your waist. Now, is that measurement the same as it was when you were 17 or 18?

Inactive adults over age 30, on average, lose about 3 - 5% of muscle tissue every 10 years. So it’s possible at age 60 to weigh the same as you weighed in high school — and still be too fat. That’s because all that lost muscle has been replaced by flab, which typically collects around your waist. “Your waistline is your lifeline,” says LaLanne.

The solution: Get into the weight room. Strength training prevents the reduction in muscle tissue that causes your body metabolism to slow down. A slower metabolism means your body collects more fat and makes your bones more vulnerable to conditions like osteoporosis.

Pump iron, people. Pump iron.

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