Iowa Specialty Hospital

Making the Rounds with Dr. Hurt

April 23, 2015

Squaring the Curve
Yesterday I had the good fortune of listening to one of the nation’s top experts and researchers in the field of exercise, obesity medicine, and wellness, Tim Church MD/PhD, speak.  His topic, “Obesity; what is it costing you?”  It was entertaining and highly informative.  One slide was particularly interesting to me.  He plotted age on the ‘x’ axis (0-90) and quality of life on the ‘y’ axis (0.1-1.0).  The graph of a “perfect life” would have a straight line going out from the top of the ‘y’ axis (1.0) over to age 90 and then drop straight down (death).  In other words, the highest quality of life for 90 years, then sudden death without disease of suffering.  If you graph our actual population, however, the quality of life starts somewhere around 0.7, goes straight to the right until about age 55-65, then sharply declines down to the ‘x’ axis to about age 78-80.  His point was that when we decline, we sharply decline! Thus the term “squaring the curve.”  He showed evidence through his research, even in a study of 88 year-olds, that intervention with exercise, even just 10-20 minutes a day of WALKING can change the slope of that curve to maintain a higher quality of life for longer.
Bottom line, just get moving! Make it fun.  If you hate exercise, make sure you get off the couch at least once per hour and walk around the house (not to the fridge!).  172 minutes/week of exercise (30 minutes 6x/day) has shown to really square the curve.  Look, for the most part it’s about quality of life.  Our life span is somewhat predictable based on our genetics.  How we want to live that life is up to us! I heard somewhere that an apple a day tends to keep that doctor away.  Enjoy the rest of spring and be well!
Just remember, when you are over the hill, you begin to pick up speed.  ~ Charles Schulz
Old age is like everything else. To make a success of it, you’ve got to start young. ~ Fred Astaire

- Dr. Michael Hurt, CMO


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