Copyright 2006 Adam Kessler
There is a whole generation out there that is getting scared. They are getting scared of getting old and feeble. That generation which we commonly refer to as Baby Boomers have lived a life of vitality and carefree existence, but now as they start approaching retirement, they don’t want it to stop. But doesn’t becoming old mean you can’t be as active as you once were? Not really, and you better believe that these Baby Boomers are going to do everything in their power to stay active as long as they can.
Baby Boomers were the first generation to really embrace the exercise wave that hit America back in the eighties. They did it then to look good, but now they are doing it to enjoy a healthy life. As a result of trying to stay active, Baby Boomers are running marathons, playing hockey, performing in track meets, and basically doing the same activities that they have done for years. What is happening though is that the mind is willing, but the body is aging and you are seeing more and more sports related injuries. In fact, this epidemic recently surpassed the common cold as the number one reason for visiting the doctor. Do not despair though. I have found the fountain of youth for these Baby Boomers so that they can keep on ticking at a high level and not have to worry so much about these injuries. That fountain of youth is EXERCISE.
I think I just heard a collective groan because I know you were all hoping for me to introduce some new pill or powder that will keep your muscles young and vigorous. I wish I had, but I’ve found the next best thing. I have clients that have worked with me for several years now and are astounded at what their body can handle because of exercise.
In this day and age, we are living longer, but what is the fun of living longer if you are constantly sick, hunched over, and watch television all the time. I have clients in their seventies that continue to ski, play softball, or participate in senior track meets and have no injuries whatsoever. This can only be attributed to the exercise that they do to prepare their bodies for their activities and keep them as young as possible.
As we get older, we lose bone mass, we lose muscle mass, our tendons stiffen, and our joints lose flexibility. So if you don’t do something, yeah you could turn into some fragile, shriveled up old fogey. But, if you exercise and strength train, you can slow down the loss of bone and muscle. If you stretch out, you can keep your joints limber and help your range of motion stay as great as possible. If you are playing sports or are physically active, by warming up properly and cooling down properly, your body will be in as great a shape possible for that activity. Strength training will challenge your nervous system so that your reaction time doesn’t diminish as fast; consequently you will not lose your balance as often as other people do when they get up there in years.
My clients who continue to have fun in their golden years maintain a consistent exercise program that helps their body handle the rigors of their activities. It is like I always say, you don’t have to be a professional athlete to train like one. No, you won’t be receiving millions of dollars for playing in that over-60 softball league, but you will be preventing injury, staying healthy, and doing the things you truly enjoy well into your later years of life.