Exercise: A Guide from the National Institute On Aging


Table of Contents

John Glenn

Dear Friends:

You are never too old to get in shape. I am often asked what I've done over the years to stay in shape. At different times, I have engaged in many different activities. When I was in school I played football and basketball. The Marine Corps provided its own unique brand of physical training or PT. While in the space program and for many years afterwards, I jogged to stay in shape. And my wife Annie and I have enjoyed hiking and skiing over the years. Most of all, I have always valued staying active in one way or another.

From my involvement with NASA, both in the Mercury program and with the Shuttle Mission STS-95, I have become keenly aware of the effect that weightlessness can have on the human body. Without the effect of gravity, astronauts' muscles and bones begin to deteriorate while they're in space. A number of other changes occur to the astronauts in orbit - from which they recover upon their return - that also happen as part of the natural aging process right here on Earth. For one, osteoporosis sets in. These same things can happen to us if we maintain a sedentary lifestyle. This is especially true as we get older.

The good news is that exercise is just a step away. I am pleased to recommend Exercise: A Guide from the National Institute on Aging as an excellent manual for anyone who wants to take those first steps toward an active lifestyle. The scientists and doctors at the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health collaborated to produce this top-notch book. This guide contains valuable information about how exercise and proper nutrition are crucial for staying healthy as we age and provides useful tips on establishing and maintaining a regular exercise program.

In my case, I had to make accommodations to my advancing years by modifying my exercise regime. In the past, I was an ardent jogger, but as I got older my doctor said that the impact of running was putting too much stress on my knees and other joints. He suggested that I take up speed walking instead. Along with that, I do some weight lifting and stretching. So now I still get a great workout, but by doing exercise that is appropriate for my age and physical condition. This guide will help you do the same.

I hope you will read this book and follow its suggestions. We can all enjoy healthy and productive senior years by heeding these recommendations.

Senator John Glenn

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