We Do Not Have To Be Reluctant Captives Of The Aging Process

Aging is often defined as a decreased ability to adapt to the environment and this is very evident in the attitudes of older people with regards to their own need for proper exercise. Studies show that intentional exercise declines significantly as people get older and as many as eight out of ten adults do not get enough strength building and maintaining activity.

It seems that older people themselves have negative attitudes and mistaken beliefs about the value of proper exercise to their health and well-being. Here are some of the results from surveys done on this subject.

1) Many people believe that as they grow older their need for exercise diminishes and eventually disappears

2) People vastly exaggerate the risks involved with vigorous activity and often use that as an excuse to not do it

3) Too many people believe they get enough exercise just doing the tasks and activities of daily living. They overrate the benefits of light, sporadic activity and underrate their own capabilities and abilities and the need to keep their body strong

We know now that as much as two-thirds of the functional health decline associated with aging is, in fact, the result of disuse and can be halted and even reversed through an effective program of strengthening exercise performed 2-3 times each week.

Age is no limitation as the human body does not know how old it is but it does know when the brain stops receiving messages that strength is needed. When we lose our strength our ‘growth and repair’ hormones are no longer stimulated and a downward health spiral that we used to blame on the aging process is set into motion.

We know now that the passing years are not the problem it is the amount of physical activity that determines how fast or slow we age or whether we stay well and healthy or succumb to disease and illness.

The important point in all of this is the fact that we do not have to be captives of the aging process like we used to believe and accept. After all being strong and fit means being able to do all the things that you want and need to do for as long as possible.

Perhaps the greatest benefits from this are the sense of independence, feelings of self-worth and the energy and enthusiasm to live our one and only life to the fullest. After all our modern world has so much to offer us no matter our age – travel, a second (or third) career, recreational sports and activities, pursuing hobbies and interests or spending time with family and friends.

But we cannot do these things with poor health that comes from disuse and a lack of proper body strengthening activity. Our attitude and motivation is vital and may need to be taken to higher levels and new skills learned to achieve this. Surely this is not much to give to get so much back in return. Keep your eye on the prize not the price.