Are you getting older?
Do you have hard time with activities that used to be easy?
Are the things that make you smile starting to become a chore?
But does getting older mean we should stop doing the things we love? My short answer is a resounding NO!
Whether it be going for a hike or jog, playing sports such as golf or surfing, or simply carrying grocery bags into your home or picking up your Grandchildren from the floor, aging can slow us all down.
Why does physical activity become harder as we age?
One effect of aging is sarcopenia, which is the loss of muscle mass, and begins when we reach our 30s and occurs more rapidly as we hit our middle-age years. Another is loss of motor control, stability, and balance. This can all lead increased difficulty with tasks that used to be easy and even lead to falls and injuries. This can become extremely limiting and create fear in doing the things we used to find fun. Eventually this causes a sedentary lifestyle and further related health problems.
What can I do to stay physically active?
Whether you are in your 30s, 40s, 50s, or even 80s, we should all be training and preparing for remaining active and independent later in life. One term coined by Peter Attia, MD is the Centenarian Decathlon, and is a framework for longevity. To participate, you should choose the 10 most important physical tasks that you would like to be able to do for the rest of your life including into your 8th, 9th, and 10th decades. This could be anything from carrying a suitcase, playing 18 holes of golf, walking on the beach, or getting up and down from the floor.
This provides the framework for how to train. As we know we will likely lose some muscle mass as we age, we can choose exercises related to our chosen tasks build sufficient strength and balance to be prepared for and slow decline. Developing a specifically structured plan and staying consistent is key to your success.
How do I know where and how to start?
Physical Therapists are the movement experts in the healthcare field. We can help break down the physical requirements of your chosen decathlon tasks and use evidence-based practice to develop an individualized program based on your goals. This is appropriate for anyone of all ages, whether a high school athlete or grandparent wanting to improve the quality of their family time.
If you are interested in working on preparing for a physically active and fulfilling life, don’t hesitate to get started today!
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