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"I'm too old" - Why measuring age in years is all wrong

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"I'm too old" - Why measuring age in years is all wrong

Age.

When I first meet clients, a common point of conversation clients is age and how they feel physically. There is a general acceptance in modern society that once over 30 everything falls apart - slowly at first - then accelerates once you get past 50.

Many individuals just feel slow, out of shape, they have aches, pains and feel that their body is going south. If they have kids it can often bring home the reality of losing function and being unable to keep up.

When you have kids you become keenly aware of the energy children have, they have an ability to find joy in simple things, just look at their flexibility, strength, sheer physicality and robustness.

Adults are brittle by comparison.

A child's desire to play guides them to develop physically and mentally. Over time, these behaviours begin to erode, the steady creep from teen to adult see us put play to one side and joyful movement is consigned to our childhood.

For most of the population if they reach 40 years of age their suppleness, ability to recover and train hard has greatly diminished. Food goes straight to the bad places (tummy, bum) and getting out of bed or chair merely highlights the rust on the chassis!

We accept that this is the price for getting older.

We should accept it.... or so we are told.

What if this is a lie?

Does ageing mean you cannot grow physically and achieve levels of function you've not experienced in years? I argue that our bodies have great potential at any age.

It is possible to unlock your bodies natural athleticism, regain some of your lost abilities, plus develop new and more advanced ones.

Our bodies are designed to move, they respond in kind when we invest in them.

That doesn’t mean, however, that we should train like we were 20. When we don't adapt our training to take into account new responsibilities, stress and perhaps past injuries, it's no wonder we feel old!

The reality is that as we age we need to concentrate on the following areas,:

1. Developing and maintaining lean muscle in favour of fat

Sarcopenia or muscle loss is a common issue to navigate as we age. Engaging in weight bearing exercise will reverse/slow down muscle loss and increase your metabolism. Making it easier to stay lean and maintain high levels of function and strength.

2. Developing strong bones

Unless we stress our bones, or feed them correctly they deteriorate. As we age we this is a vulnerability that we can prevent by strength training.

3. Developing strong joints and tendons

How many of you train your joints? Ok, how many of you have painful joints?

Exercising isn't just about the things we can see, we need to strengthen the entire body to provide longevity and resilience.

4. Developing flexibility and mobility

Stiff as a board? Something that is too stiff can shatter, so increasing your mobility can make you more injury proof and make moving easier and more pleasurable.

5. Heart health

Aerobic conditioning for heart health is essential, eating wetabix or some franken-butter isn't the solution. Getting on a bike, going running, walking (yes...) or swimming are perfect for developing heart health.

6. Assigning more recovery time

I know that kids 'need' more sleep than adults, but most adults don't get the minimum, then they expect to go full throttle at work and in the gym. Unless you recover (by eating well, resting and hydrating) you won't make progress.

7. Adapting our nutrition based on changes to our body - both hormonally and metabolically

We become more insulin resistant as we age, we lose muscle, our hormonal balance changes and we reduce our activity levels. If our food intake and diet is still the same as when we were 25 you'll probably put on weight. So working out the right nutritional plan for you at the moment is key, and as you exercise more it'll change again. Nothing is static.

“The body will become better at whatever you do, or don’t do. If you don’t move, your body will make you better at not moving. If you move, your body will allow more movement.” Ido Portal

OK I'M, IN BOOK ME A SESSION!

All of the above will not be achieved by the gunho! approach we used as a 20 something. It's true we got stronger, leaner and better conditioned, our joints got stronger and our heart could handle more. It wasn't the optimal method.

As we age we need to make sure we are doing things correctly.

In our 20's we needed a fraction of the recovery necessary aged 45 - a heavy night out and good training session often happened within 24 hours. Once you hit 40 it could be 5 days before you have a decent workout!

You could also fuel yourself on junk food, fizzy pop and beer aged 18 and still look ripped and make gains. The 35 plus athlete can look even better but nutrition needs to be bang on.

At 20 chances are you had very few injuries so that meant joints weren't impinged and muscles less supple, falling didn’t hurt and you made gains very quickly.

You had less responsibility and stress - how many of you can sleep into 11am on week days now?

This extract from an article by Tommy Wood is sobering:

"Every year in the UK, 65,000 people fracture a hip, usually after a fall. In the US, the number is nearly 300,000 per year. After fracturing a hip, almost a third of people will die within a year, and less than half of the survivors will regain complete independence.

"If you’re strong enough to do a burpee, not only will you will be less likely to fall, you’re also more likely to get yourself up if you do fall."

Sound a bit dramatic? Then consider the fact that 30-40% of people over the age of 65 will have at least one fall per year, and more than 20% of women and 10% of men are predicted to fracture a hip in their lifetime. Even if you don’t break anything, up to 50% of people that fall are unable to get up unassisted, and will often need hospitalisation by the time help eventually arrives."

All is not lost!

The thing is you can be a far superior athlete in your 30’s-50’s than in your 20s. You just have to train in more mindful, intelligent manner and follow a holistic approach. You also need training time under your belt, you need to be consistent for a longer period because the gains come slower.

It turns out that the youth of today have their own obesity crisis and are suffering old age issues due to inactivity and poor nutrition - imagine what they will feel like physically at 50? It's a scary thought, we cannot rely on technology to 'save' us.

I truly believe that we all have potential that is untapped, and with the right support and dedication we can unlock new skills, increase our health and make lasting positive changes.

That's why Hounds of Health are here, we help kick start you and provide guidance and advice when it gets tough or confusing!

Measure your age by your level of function not years. I have more function that I had in my 20s.

The article below (click on photo) shows that the mind drives change and you make amazing changes with dedication.


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