Since we've been inundated with photos of General Petraeus and the women in his life, we've had ample time to think about the stunning difference in appearance between him and his wife, Holly. At age 60, the General appears youthful and fit; by contrast Holly, also age 60, looks tired and old.
Older people are more unlike their peers than younger folk. The older people become the less like each other they become. Some people are weak and withered at 60, while others are energetic and vibrant, seeking new adventures at 75. Older people are just too different from one another to measure aging in years.
How much of the aging process can we really control? As we age, we lose strength and stamina and gain weight and belly fat! However, much of what we consider the aging process – loss of muscle, bone, energy, balance and flexibility - is actually due to inactivity.
Experts in the field of aging agree that exercise is the prime mover in the drive to preserve vitality. The signals of aging are weak but persistent. We can fight the relentless tide of aging by being relentless ourselves. At age 60, we can get functionally younger each year for the next 5 or 10 years. General Petraeus is formidably fit to be able to run a 6-minute mile pace with Paula Broadwell, his mistress and twenty years his junior.
I would love to know what Holly does for fitness training. Hopefully, her exercise routine does keep her fit and energetic, able to keep up with the General, if not in his running pace, at least in his "living" pace. As a reminder to her and all of us who are aging: Muscle mass and strength can be regained, no matter what your age and condition of musculature is when you start. Increased energy and stamina create a youthful vitality that makes you look and feel far younger than your chronological age.