The age excuse is a topic that I encounter on a regular basis in my personal and professional life. “I am to old for ‘X’ activity.” “Getting old sucks.” “Back when I was younger…” People talk about age like its an unescapable, constricting prison. It’s as if age simply deteriorates you and keeps you from being active, regardless of what you do to try and stop it. Sometimes I will hear those who are as young as mid 30’s or early 40’s someone use the age excuse as the causative factor for their bad health.
Aging is a part of life. This is true. It does happen whether you like it or not, but it occurs with a fairly predictable physiological response. Yes you will deteriorate to some extent, your ability to recover will slightly diminish, and there will be changes in almost every system of the body. But to speak of it as some sort of unstoppable force that we shouldn’t try to work through is ridiculous. Speaking of age, do you know what else is getting old? Your excuses. So here are three reasons why your age excuse is irrelevant.
1) Mid-life Gains
How many people between 30 and 40 do you hear reminisce of their teens and early twenties like it was 4 decades ago? Back to the days in high school training for football or their college years when they were always at the gym and “benched a freaking house?” Or when they were younger and played multiple sports, ate whatever they wanted without gaining a pound, and made fun of all the boys because they had bigger arms than they did? Some people will talk about this period of time (literally 5-8 years) like it was the golden age of their physical form and now that they’re in their late 20’s, 30’s or 40’s, the good years are behind them. Do me a favor and slap them.
There is some kind of status quo in our society that seems to dictate that all your fun is in your high school and early college years. That it doesn’t get any better, and that once you are done with college you get married, have kids and grow fat and old with your spouse. If you are buying into the idea that getting old sucks or are saying at any point that “you’re too old for this shit” and are also under your 4th decade of life, you are selling yourself short. Way short. There are tons of studies that show that males and even females can experience a multitude of strength and performance improvements during their 30’s and 40’s. This will not only keep active and energetic, but also extremely healthy and strong.
Even for many athletes the 30’s are the realization period and peak of their careers. Very few high level athletes peak when they are 21 and a junior in college. This is the time when an individual who has been consistently training or competing can finally merge hormonal and physical attributes with the experience of over a decade worth of competition to perform at their highest. So if a professional athlete needs three or four years in the pros to flourish into a superstar and then go on to become a 15 plus year veteran, why would your body be any different for general health and wellness?
2) Training to Be a Senior
Don’t feel like training because you have no ambition to work for something specific? How about your future? Do you have kids? Grandkids? Do you have ambitions that you would like to pursue down the road when you retire? Most people would say yes to a few of those. The number one predictor of quality of life during the latter stages of life is activity level. At this point in my career, I have seen some insanely healthy and energetic people who are 60, 70, or even 80+ years old. I’ve also seen some ridiculously sick, immobile, and frustrated people who are barely into their 50’s. The difference? Activity level and diet. Not only does exercising and eating correctly help you body, it improves your mood. The body is directly reliant on proper nutrition and movement to prosper. Take either of those away for a long period of time, and it begins to shut down. Ever wonder why breaking a hip is such a serious problem in the elderly? It’s not the hip injury itself that typically kills you. It’s the inability to heal from a broken hip and the subsequent sedentary lifestyle that makes it such a threat to the longevity of an elderly individual’s life.
So how do you train to be a Senior? Never stop moving. Find a hobby that keeps you active and do it. Exercise and lift weights all the way through your 40’s and 50’s. This will build your bone density, immune system, and cardiovascular health, which will make you a real tough S.O.B. for Darwin to take down in your latter years. At NBS Fitness and Mid-South Spine and Sports Performance we have MANY members over 50 who are active gym goers and put some of our younger member to shame. Scared of a few aches and pains? These individuals have learned to train AROUND their injuries and are in much better shape than the average 50+ year old in our nation. Some sore muscles and a bit of wobbliness after leg day is a heck of a lot more manageable than the dozens of prescription pain medications, obesity, and overall weakness that most in that age population have to deal with. Health is no different than anything else in life. You reap what you sow.
3) Age Isn’t the problem
Regardless of your age level, for most people, at the end of the day the age excuse is simply that. An excuse. It’s a self-imposed reason to help justify why you won’t or can’t do something. There will be some factual reasoning behind it, but the lack of will to adapt to those reasons are what make it an excuse. You will not heal or recover as quickly, your hormonal levels will start to taper off and diminish, and you may not be able to eat everything in sight without any consequences, but that doesn’t mean that the problem is age. The problem is you need to be more adaptable. Maybe you don’t know how, and that’s okay. There are qualified professionals that are able to help. Maybe you need a nutrition coach to help you establish better dietary guidelines specific to your goals. Maybe you need a health care professional that set up a wellness or preventative plan of action to help you recover better between training sessions. Maybe it’s time to put to rest the trusty 3 day bodybuilding split you’ve been doing since college and seek a trainer. A good trainer can not only custom tailor a program that fits your needs, but also make sure your technique and programming aren’t beating you into the ground and damaging your body. Either way, there are plenty of options you can utilize to make sure you don’t become another victim to the age excuse. Why spend the last half of your life talking about all the things you CAN’T do, when with a little more effort and a proper team, you put people half your age to shame with the things you CAN do. Ditch the age excuse, and be awesome.