Saturday, November 16, 2013

Am I too Old? (he asked)
Recently, after I announced our May, 2014 IDW, I received an e mail from a gentlemen inquiring about the event. He had many excellent questions and, among them he asked if he was too old to take the training (to become an instructor). It turned out that he was 52 years old. I assured him that he was not too old and that I had not yet even been in a kayak when I was his age.

This reminded me of the famous Nuns' study in which a group of cloistered nuns agreed to have their brains autopsied after they died (well, duh). It seems that some of their brains showed advanced degenerative physical changes compatible with significant Alzheimer's Disease even though most of them were vibrant, socially active and mentally sharp at the time of their deaths. What could explain this dichotomy of findings?

It seems that these exceptional women were socially active and mentally occupied right up until their last days. I am guessing that their brains found new pathways and re-wired themselves to meet the demands these women created when they refused to sit and await the end. Instead, they kept diaries, were involved in day to day activities and stayed in conversation with their peers.

When I was in practice I did a lot of cardiac stress tests. In the lab was chart that predicted a patient's maximum heart rate based on age (which gets lower as we get older). I invariably found that patients achieved a maximum heart rate consistent with their apparent age (as predicted by the nurse and myself) rather than their actual chronological age...a finding similar to the Nuns' study.

So, if you are 52, or even 62 or more, and you want to be a sea kayak instructor; come to our IDW. Even if you are a nun.

Paddle safe...
DS

2 comments:

Rosemary Nickerson said...

64 and still at it! although I'm more into motor boats! :)

Silbs said...

Nice to see a younger woman like yourself out there. Silbs