The concept of age is a funny thing. As Mark Twain once said,”Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” It’s a number; a number that represents our number of annual trips around the sun; a representation of our passage through man made markers. People talk about wanting to live long, fruitful lives and then get all depressed as they age. Here’s the thing: we’ve ALL been aging since the day we were born and the process will never stop until that unfortunate day. So rather than stress or worry or make excuses about a natural, uncontrollable process, why not make the best of it and run with it? And exercise is and should be a huge part of that.
Physical movement is so much a part of who were are (we were born with arms and legs) that to not move is like throwing in the towel. Today’s world provides too many distractions to keep us from moving, albeit limited. TVs, iPads, Netflix, increasing seated work schedules, etc. Inactivity has become such a part of our landscape that it’s almost taken for granted and accepted. When inactivity creeps in, so does a plethora of issues that at first don’t rear their ugly heads until it’s almost too late. Enter exercise to the rescue. Yes, something as simple as exercise, in no matter what form or type, has proven benefits to reversing all of the negative outcomes of inactivity. But you knew that, right? What about my age? “I can’t do what I use to do.”
Age is No Excuse
“Age isn’t how old you are but how old you feel.” (Gabriel García Márquez) When age is thrown in as an excuse to avoid physical activity, that is when the biggest intervention has to begin. It has to start with a mindset. If you think you’re old, then congratulations – you are old. Again, let me remind you that we’ve been aging everyday since we were born. But if you take a much more positive mindset, such as beginning minimally and progressing to a more involved process, you’re on the right path. Research has shown that no matter what age you start exercising, it’s never too late to reap the benefits. If you’ve exercised your entire life, great. Understand though that the way you worked out in your teens and twenties might need just a little tweaking. Exercise is never intended to cause bodily harm and if it does, it’s generally operator error and not the exercise itself. With age generally comes wisdom. Be smart in your choices and understand there’s nothing you can’t do. Age should never be your limiting factor.
“The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been. (Madeleine L’Engle)
Just because you identify as “old” doesn’t mean you’re limited to “old” exercises. What I mean are these pathetically easy exercises that even a novice eye would see and ask “Is that even worth it”? Well, yes if you’re just starting. But just like the twenty or thirty something, eventually you need to and will progress for the exercise benefits to continue. I have current clients in their seventies that would easily embarrass most 30 year olds! They’ve progressed to do things that most people their age would label as “crazy” but I can assure you the only crazy ones in that equation are the disbelievers. One more gem of advice: “You don’t stop laughing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop laughing.” (Michael Pritchard) Keep laughing and keep moving.
Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better