When co-founder of StrongPath.com, Fred Bartlit, was just 50 years old his soon-to-be wife inspired him to get serious about strength training. Today, at 87, Fred is still doing everything he wants to do and doing it well. “My goals are not necessarily to live a lot longer, but a lot better,” he recently told Peter Bowes, host of the Live Long and Master Aging podcast.
Today, Fred is on a mission to let everyone know strength counts and strength drives everything.
“My focus today is dramatically more important and dramatically broader than it was when I first got started, when it was just about making sure Fred Bartlit could still ski,” he said. As a result of seeing his friends getting weaker, frailer and quitting many of their leisure activities, Fred started researching why this was happening to his peers and not to him. In his research, came across the disease called Sarcopenia.
Sarcopenia, Fred discovered, is a steady loss of muscle mass that starts in your 30s and accelerates with age. It has recently been officially recognized as a disease. However, frailty and weakness caused by sarcopenia is not inevitable as we age and strength training is the most important tool we have to prevent and fight against it.
Many doctors have never heard of sarcopenia and say that frailty is inevitable as you age. Often, they recommend that older people should not overexert themselves. This despite mounting evidence that intense physical activity can help lower your risk of certain chronic diseases.
“Within the last two years, conservative places like Harvard, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the UK Medical Academy have said pumping iron is a miracle drug, the fountain of youth and actually makes our cells and bodies younger,” Fred explained. Alarmingly, he told Bowes, a study found only “five percent of medical schools in America teach that exercise is a miracle cure for 35 chronic diseases including Alzheimer’s, cancer and heart disease.”
It’s never too late to start exercising and weight training. A recent study published in JAMA Network Open found that people who increased their physical activity “during years 40 – 61 also had a lower risk of dying of cancer, heart disease, and any cause” despite being less active for much of their adult life. Another study found people in their 70’s who lift weights have 70 percent more energy.
“You can save your life. It’s not too late … You want to go down with all your flags flying,” according to Fred.
Listen to Fred’s interview in its entirety on Live Long and Master Aging podcast and read more about how to stay strong, avoid sarcopenia and live better on StrongPath.com.