Physical Wellness

Living well is a discipline. The necessary physical discipline is frequent exercise and eating less than the body wants. The alternative is suffering from the sin of sloth in later years.

Relatively few Americans over the age of 40 are in good physical condition. Almost all are too fat. 40% of American adults are obese, and therefore likely destined to die before they reach 70 years of age, after at least 2 decades of physical suffering and disability. Most of the handicap parking spots in the country are for people who handicapped themselves.

One reason for weight gain as we age is gradual loss of muscle mass: ~1% annually. This lessens basal metabolic rate: the burn rate of calories while resting. The lower the rate, the fewer calories burnt.

A diminishing flow of hormones – testosterone in men and estrogen and progesterone in women – also contributes to easy weight gain. Lipid (fat) removal from fat cells also slackens, making losing weight more difficult and gaining weight easier. Another reason for easy weight gain is the ebbing of spontaneous physical activity as we get older.

All told, the slowing down that comes with bodily aging abets weight gain. The only ward against putting on pounds is eating less and exercising regularly with weights, walking, and other physical activities. Physical exercise is also good mental exercise, as the mind-body is an integrated system.

Eating more fresh fruits and vegetables helps, since these foods fill with fewer calories. It is practically impossible to prevent weight gain with a diet heavy in dairy (milk products) and/or meat.


Ishi Nobu, Spokes 4: The Ecology of Humans, BookBaby (2019).

Marlene Cimons, “Growing old doesn’t mean you also grow in weight,” The Washington Post (27 October 2019).