SECRET TO SUCCESS
“Lean muscle mass is probably our only real ‘fountain of youth’ in medicine,” says Waterland, pointing to a growing amount of research suggesting that building up your muscles helps reduce the risk of falls, improves the circulatory system, and boosts brain health, among other benefits. “Everything is tied to how strong we are and how well we move.”
Waterland recommends exercises that mimic how the body naturally functions—such as squats and lunges—as well as ones that focus on balance, coordination, and weight resistance.
Boomers can find an unprecedented amount of online health and wellness resources. “The current aging population is the first one to have access to this kind of information,” says Waterland. (One podcast he particularly recommends is “The Peter Attia Drive.”) Such resources, says Waterland, can be powerful tools in helping manage heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and other health issues.
CHALLENGE YOUR LIMITS
Activities like walking, tennis, and pickleball can break a sweat, but don’t rely solely on them. Waterland recommends adding strength training into your routine at least twice a week.
Those with surgery in their future may want to consider “prehab,” or physical therapy before the procedure. Prepping or strengthening the body for what’s next, says Waterland, will maximize rehabilitation.
PUMP IT UP
Waterland wants to dispel the myth that you inevitably lose strength and ability as you get older. “There’s no age limit to getting stronger—you just have to push the muscles the right amount.” The Today Show recently featured one of his clients doing exactly that: Tacoma’s Madonna Hanna started competitive sprinting in her 60s and, now 70, won gold at the 2023 National Senior Games.