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Oldest Known Pearl Harbor Survivor, 104, Returns to Honor the Fallen

December 7, 1941, was a date that will live in infamy, and the oldest survivor of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was in attendance at a recent memorial for it. At 104 years of age, Ray Chavez prepared for the long trip to Hawaii with a rigorous exercise program that helped him add 20 pounds of muscle, according to NBC News. A Navy veteran who served on the minesweeper USS Condor on that fateful day 75 years ago, Chavez should be a beacon of hope to all of us, and living proof that you are never too old to start a workout program.

This inspirational story shows that older adults should seriously consider exercising. Improving your balance and coordination can go a long way toward reducing your risk of falling, which is the most common cause of hip fractures and traumatic brain injuries among seniors. If you're elderly or infirm, and decide to try some exercises at home, be sure to have a "spotter" next to you in case you lose your balance.

It's important to realize that without weight training, your muscles will atrophy and lose mass. Age-related loss of muscle mass is known as sarcopenia, and if you don't do anything to stop it, you can expect to lose about 15 percent of your muscle mass between your 30s and your 80s.

While muscle loss is inevitable, unless you do something to counteract it, it's never too late to begin. In one study, a group of nursing home residents with an average age of 90 improved their strength between 167 and 180 percent after just eight weeks of weight training. Exercise may also help stave off cognitive decline.
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