How do you see yourself at an older age, say 70 plus? Do you see yourself slim, strong, fit and active? Is it important to you that you have a high quality of life? You probably would also like to be totally independent living in your own home, able to perform your daily tasks easily, enjoying your leisure activities and have no major health problems. Is this just wishful thinking or do you think you have any control how you will live out your golden years?
Do we just wait and hope that all of this will happen by some stroke of luck? Does it not make sense that we should prepare ourselves properly for our later years rather than just waiting and hoping for that miracle to have a strong mobile body as we age?
The myth is that we have been conditioned to believe that as we grow older it is normal to get weaker, feeble and more prone to suffer illnesses and aches and pains. We see others around us getting older and slowing down, and we assume that losing our strength is just part of the natural aging process. Muscle weakness, bone loss and sluggish metabolism are changes that accompany aging but that doesn’t mean that are caused by it.
The fact of the matter is many of these symptoms are the symptoms of inactivity, or disuse, of from using our bodies and our muscles less. This can happen over a long period of time (years or decades) as we slowly but surely slip into a sedentary lifestyle.
Without the challenge of weight-bearing exercise, the body has no stimulus to renew itself; tissues grow old and frail and become prone to injury and disease.
Poor health is not an inevitable consequence of aging. We now know that inactivity is the villain, not just simple getting older. The onset of chronic diseases and functional limitations in aging adults can be delayed or if they strike their impact minimized.
We can consider ourselves very lucky, previous generations did not have this knowledge. With new research and ample evidence available to us we can make sure that weakness and frailty does not happen to us.
It’s important to embrace new information, even if it means tossing out old beliefs and familiar ideas to take advantage of this information. You can slow or reverse many of the symptoms associated with aging. Although the fountain of youth still hasn’t be found, something quite close to it has. At the Tufts University exercise lab researchers say that strength training exercise is a potent age eraser. For fighting physical declines associated with aging it is their weapon of choice.
If exercise is so great why aren’t more people doing it? The need for an exercise program for older adults has not been taken seriously until recently, after all, they’re in the “golden years”. They should be “growing old gracefully” (is that idly?) or “taking it easy”.
Many regard it as a waste of time, and perhaps even harmful to an aging body. That way of thinking is no longer acceptable with so much information at our fingertips on the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle. Our level of strength and energy is largely in each of our hands. Mere movement, or “any exercise is good enough”, is not really sufficient if you truly wish to be prepared for your later years. Active strength training exercise is indeed the key to turning back the clock.
The age related declines in muscle mass and strength accelerated by an inactive lifestyle can easily by slowed or even reversed by a proper exercise program. If you are new to exercise is important that the program is set up and supervised by a qualified person so that progressive and ongoing results are obtained. The program should be intense enough to stimulate strength increases in muscles, and be changed often so the body doesn’t get used to the exercises halting progress.
If you’re not strength training already, get started today! Get ready to achieve your full potential as a strong, fit and healthy adult. You will be blessed with an extension of years beyond your imagination granting you more time to do the things you truly enjoy well into the later years of your life.
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You can train yourself for success or you can train yourself for failure.
Be your own coach and get yourself going.