Wellness Wednesday – The Rise and Fall of the Fitness Generation

Senior couple riding bicycles

In the AARP Magazine article The Rise and Fall of the Fitness Generation, author Sarah Mahoney shares why once-buff boomers are now confronting the blimp in the mirror:

“‘Baby boomers led an unprecedented fitness revolution, into a kind of golden era of health,’ says Kenneth H. Cooper, M.D., whose 1968 best-selling Aerobics put modern exercise on the map. In 1968, less than 24 percent of American adults exercised regularly; by 1984, that figure had risen to 59 percent. Cholesterol levels fell, and so did blood pressure. Deaths from heart disease plummeted 48 percent. And, in large part due to boomer mojo, the average life expectancy jumped from 69.7 years for those born in 1960 to 75.4 for those born in 1990, a huge gain.

By 1987 – the apex of the golden age of our abdominals — 69 percent of American adults were regular exercisers. Many boomers pursued fitness careers, becoming personal trainers. Others harnessed their workouts to change the world, with groundbreaking AIDS bike rides and breast cancer walks raising millions for worthy causes.

Then something strange happened. Boomers, once the peppiest generation, devolved from fit to flabby. Don’t take my word for it. JAMA Internal Medicine recently revealed that boomers are far less fit than their parents were at the same age and are more likely to have diabetes or high blood pressure. Today just 35 percent of boomers exercise regularly; 52 percent have no routine.”

Find out what happened.

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