One of my pet peeves is when people tell me that they used to be fitter, or stronger, or more flexible, or just plain healthier when they were younger. It as if they have decided that aging means a natural decline in all of these things. This is simply not true. In fact the opposite is true – as you age you need to preserve and where possible, enhance all areas of your physical and mental health to ensure you are living your best life.
So, to all those people who say that the inevitably move from the sports field to the couch, and move from being out of breathe from running to being out of breathe from climbing stairs, and think this is all part of natures design and intention for the human body let me tell you that you are wrong. Search YouTube for Mats Trane, Lesley Maxwell, Julia “Hurricane” Hawkins, Bill Collins and many others and you will find men and women in their 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and even 100 doing gymnastics, body building, sprinting, marathons and endurance racing.
Now there are some changes that will happen to your body as you age. You will have changes to hormones that will affect muscle strength, endurance and other physical aspects, but with aerobic and strength work you can slow down and even reverse a lot of these. I’m not talking about taking up senior fitness classes where you barley move (although this is entirely appropriate if you have been sedentary for most of your life as an introduction back into better fitness). I’m talking about real cardio workouts and lifting big weights.
I’m a keen road cyclist and I’m in my early 50s. I regularly get passed by a legendary 83 year road cyclist in our area. I can usually catch him on the flat but on the hills he makes me look slow.
My point is that chronological aging is simply a measure of how many trips around the sun you have taken. Actual physical and mental aging is a reflection of your attitude and how that manifests in what you do to preserve and enhance your health and well-being through exercise at any age.