Aging injures and injuries age
Years ago I heard the saying, "Aging injures and injuries age". It had a powerful effect on me. When you get hurt, you change. For some it is a wake up call to take care of your body and fitness. For others it is a wonderful opportunity to gain attention and rationalize their massive shift from active to sedentary.
The funny thing is, when we are young and athletically competitive, we almost wear our injuries as badges of honor. We feel indestructible, almost invulnerable. The twisted ankle or injured knee is almost a right of passage. We never think about slowing down. Try keeping an adolescent from moving around when they get such powerful satisfaction from the physical adventures. It's nearly impossible.
A challenge is a goal that is thrown at your feet
At some point things change. We get injured and something clicks in our brain telling us exactly how mortal we are. It's at this point that we hit a fork in the road. One path is to severely limit or restrict our physical motion and effort. To avoid hard work, active recreation and new physical pursuits. We say we are "too old, injured or afraid". The other path is to view the pain and limitation as a message that we are being challenged. A challenge is a goal that is thrown at your feet. It can be highly energized emotionally and therefore can be very substantial.
In our modern world with modern medicine, we are very safe. Not too many Sabertooth Tigers hunting us down. Because of technology, we can live a life that largely negates any real need for mobility. Escalators, elevators and even electric carts that are available for people that don't want to walk through grocery stores have made the need to move well and almost secondary consideration. This is detrimental to healthy aging and life long physical freedom.
The power of choice and the ability to walk as a warrior
There is a saying that, "I would rather burn out than rust out". It lends itself to the extremes but makes the point about the power of choice and the ability to walk as a warrior all of your years. This can be as simple as choosing a series of drills or movements and doing them regularly and in enough repetition to build and maintain a base of movement and strength. They don't have to be complex. There is nothing new or exciting about this. Movements like dance, yoga, tai-chi and others have been around as long as man. The basic idea is two fold. If you stop doing something, you won't be able to do it. The second part is, whatever you are really bad at, is probably what you should focus on improving.
The first part is fairly easy. If playing golf is important, you can focus on skill and less on endurance and flexibility. If high level gymnastics is your standard, then you have your work cut out for you as you age. However the second half of this idea is less enjoyable. You have to constantly focus on what you aren't good at. If that means stretching for a big, strong, man, so be it. If it means squatting regularly for someone who has never done athletics, then it is time to face the music.
Above and beyond any sophisticated exercise regimen is a simplistic set of movements that are not grounded in tradition, philosophy or skill. They simply reflect some fundamental actions of the human body which can erode with neglect, lack of interest or just plain laziness. That silly movement routine that the Coach used before gym class could be a minimum protocol to add spring to your step and reduce your physiological age relative to your peers. Even fundamental calisthenics can be a litmus test to maintain vigor as time marches on.
The reality is that the terms "aging and inactivity" need not go together. We can do little about the advancing years, but we can do a lot about the activity part.
To get started on deaging your body, order "Ten Exercises that will De-Age your body by 10 Years", which is fully illustrated with photos on how to do each exercise. ($5 e-book in pdf form) Available at: www.physicalstrategies.blogspot.com/p/e-book.html
Tom Furman has been involved in martial arts and conditioning since 1972. With an early background in wrestling and a student of the methods of the York Barbell Club, Tom immediately separated fact from fiction growing up outside Pittsburgh. Eleven members of his family were combat veterans, the most famous one being “Uncle Charlie” (Charles Bronson).
His down to earth training methods are derived from his decades long practice of martial arts and his study of exercise science. The application of force, improvement of movement and durability rank high on his list of priorities when training. He gives credit to hundreds of hours of seminars, training sessions, and ‘backyard’ workouts, including training time with many martial arts legends. He also credits his incredibly gifted training partners who came from varied backgrounds such as Exercise Physiologists, Airborne Rangers, Bounty Hunters, Boxing Trainers and Coast Guard Rescue Divers.