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January 2, 1978

Guide to Fitness After 50

Author Affiliations

The New York Hospital—Cornell Medical Center New York

JAMA. 1978;239(1):59. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03280280059036

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The book has 27 chapters, which are organized into four sections. The first, "Perspectives on Exercise and Aging," gives a well-balanced review of the various elements of aging and the effect of environment on the accentuation or mitigation of the aging process. For centuries, the unfavorable influence of inactivity on old age was recognized by many eminent physicians. In contemporary society, the increased life span has made it a problem of public health.

The section "Evaluation and Physiology of Exercise" presents data indicating the beneficial effect of exercise on the fitness of the skeletal, muscular, and cardiovascular systems. The section contains well-designed longitudinal studies that show that while aging itself cannot be altered, its effect on bodily functions can be softened. Much evidence is given that a high level of cardiovascular fitness is best achieved when good exercise habits are acquired in young adulthood. Stress is laid on the necessity