There is plenty of evidence out that that tells us exercise can help prevent diseases among older people. If we could continue with a real health care plan married up with preventive services we could save money in the long run. You need to do your part though. Log onto VA’s MOVE! Program and check out their really cool handouts at. Even if you know how to eat right and exercise, these short online handouts could help motivate you towards healthier behaviors. As a Health Coach for the state of Oklahoma, I encourage almost all my clients (whether military or not), to log on and propel themselves toward a healthier mind and body. Even if you are a “young pup” it’s not too early to start with some good habits, however, if you are retired, there’s even more incentive to get and stay healthy.

People born between 1946 and 1964—baby-boomers—are becoming senior citizens and already are impacting the face of health care significantly. The most substantial demand on the public health system with regard to the growing elderly population is financial. Specifically, people are living longer, suffering more chronic illnesses, becoming more obese, their personal functionality is dwindling; the elderly are spending more money on medications, and are taking advantage of more restorative surgeries. For example, total knee and hip replacements, two procedures to increase functionality for the elderly, has nearly tripled between the year 1980 and 1990. Bypass surgery, another procedure to increase functionality of the elderly, increased 195% between 1995 and 2004. Even chronic diseases among the elderly are on the rise.

In 2002, the cost for long-term care of the elderly was $137 billion, which equates to almost 12% of all health care dollars; more than 60% of that is paid for by the American taxpayer in the form of Medicare or Medicaid. By the year 2035, spending for these socialized programs—including Social Security—will be nearly doubled. David Walker, Comptroller General of the U.S. testified before the Special Committee on Aging that long term health involving these senior citizens isn’t just consigned to health. It also involves nutrition, transportation, housing, and social support to maintain independent living. All of this will put a drain on financial reserves from both a public view as well as a personal or individual view.

So, get out there and do your part to stave off this potential disaster. Take a walk, go for a run, ride your bike or just play with your kids. Wouldn’t you rather have fat wallets and thinner bodies? Think about it.

Lissa Wohltmann is a retired Navy commander and public affairs officer. She is currently a health coach for the state of Oklahoma.

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Published on Nov. 14, 2010

Estimated reading time is 2.2 min.

Views to date: 114


  1. Eric Roberts November 23, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    An ER Doc told me that the VA was thinking about contracting out to local gyms. That would be awesome, as even if the VAMC near me had an awesome gym, 32 miles would be a bit far for me to travel to go work out. Anywhere close by would be very helpful to me as exercise is an issue for me and I cannot afford to get a membership at a gym on my own. Having this would be a great boon to my health care (I am a diabetic). He told me to lobby for this…where do I lobby? Sign me up :-D

  2. Richard Favara November 17, 2010 at 11:45 am

    The VA facility near me has a large and well equipped Gym. If you are retired, or work part-time there is no problem using the facilities.

    However, if like me 71 years old, and having to work full-time, there is no way for me to use the Gym. Due to financial cut backs the Gym closes around 4pm and never open weekends or Holidays.

    So the ones of us that have to or want to work full-time are just out of luck.

    Of Course, this Government and as a Staff Sergeant in the Air Force once told me, “Don’t confuse me with logic.”

  3. Mark Johnson November 16, 2010 at 9:31 am

    Nice piece Lissa. I’m 61, a Vietnam (68-69) and Korea (67-68) Vet. I swim a mile a day at the local YMCA and walk the dogs 2 miles every morning. I know not everyone can do this level of activity but it is important to do SOMETHING on a regular basis.

  4. James (Jim) White November 15, 2010 at 6:50 pm

    Motivation is running towards a pen& paper. The exercise creates art, science & ethics..a new idea blooms when we”engage” Put A bit discoursein VISN 4 as the pool at the VAPHCS has been closed to vets and the news paper said “1mission wasspent for the VISN directors office include new excerise equip for director and not the vets, so here we are at the cross roadsof exerciseand the gym& pool to “bond”…I don’t know about Navy folks,but when I was in the Army we exercised as a team..thus the idea of a VA gym is the “bonding exercise” as true healthcare in a noetic equation….Give a oorah to MG Deering, OK Adj Gen. vr.jw.

  5. Scott Campbell November 14, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    I have signed up and took the paper work in myself only to hear nothing from the VA. Other than that programe all my other care at the VA is great.

  6. kim Vawter November 14, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    Words well spoken. Sometimes it is good to be reminded using cold hard statistics to back up what we should already know.

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