Exercise: The physiology of successful aging in the Okanagan

Are the aches and pains of old age inevitable?  Is it possible to age in a healthy and vibrant way?  The Okanagan boasts the oldest population in Canadawith over 20% already 65+ years of age.  Although a large proportion of older adults consider themselves to be in good health and lead independent lives, the Okanagan lifestyle may not be enough to prevent age-associated functional decline.

Drs. Jennifer Jakobi and Gareth Jones have focused their research interests on the physiological mechanisms involved in aging.  Through their investigations, they hope to pinpoint and promote strategies to slow this natural process with the aim of extending and maintaining independent living for older adults.  In a talk presented 8 October 2009, they spoke about some of their research findings.  In particular, they presented evidence that regular exercise, which engenders fitness, is ultimately the best medicine for successful aging.

On January 1, 2008, Dr. Jones and his wife, Dr. Jakobi, commenced joint faculty positions in Human Kinetics in the Faculty of Health and Social Development at UBC-Okanagan.  Recently, Dr. Jones was appointed to the National Advisory Board for the development ofCanada’s Physical Activity Guide for First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples, an initiative of the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch of HealthCanada. Dr. Jones is also the current Associate Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity and serves on the Advisory Board to UBC-Okanagan’s new Research Centre for Healthy Living and Chronic Disease Prevention.

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