Aging is a reality none of us can escape. With each passing decade, we start to lose our eyesight, hearing and strength, among other things. Then there's the threat of diseases that can attack us later in life.
Oklahoma researchers are studying ways to slow down the aging process.
Every move in Marcia Noah’s yoga class has a purpose. Stretching, balancing, even cardio help these Silver Sneakers gain back what they've lost.
“Ball to the left, one more time, half sit,” she instructs her students.
“It's a personal passion of mine to make sure that an aging population stays active from the top of their head to the bottom of their toes,” the personal trainer said.
“It's what keeps me alive,” said Sandy Jarman, a member of the Silver Sneakers.
Everyone in the group struggles with the affects of aging. Ted Lovelace has diabetes.
"I'm 75 years old. If it wasn't for this, I'd be home in a rocking chair," he said.
Aging is the primary risk factor for a number of age related diseases. Holly Van Remmen, Ph.D., studies aging at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation. She works in the Aging and Metabolism program.
"If we can understand what's going on there and intervene to slow down that process of aging, then these diseases will also be delayed," she said.
Inside OMRF's 65 labs and two clinics, researchers not only study aging, but also arthritis, MS, cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
"We do all types of clinical research, from testing new medications in partnership with companies to actually trying to find out what are the genetic and other causes of these diseases," said Stephen Prescott, OMRF president.
OMRF is expanding its aging program and recently received a $2.1 million grant to study age-related muscle loss.
"It's not about can we make the human being who can live to 180, that's not the goal," Van Remmen said. "The goal is can you live to a 100 or 110 and still be relatively healthy living an active life."
"I think it's important for people to know it's normal to age and it's OK to age and get through that aging as healthy as you can," said Sandy Jarman.