Want to Age Well? Exercise!

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing.” –George Bernard Shaw

That is one of my all-time favorite quotes. I love it because it’s true! So many of our clients have been told that your knees hurts because of age. You have back pain because of age. You need your hip replaced because of age. You’re losing muscle mass because of age. You have osteoporosis because of age. However, IF age is to blame for pain, muscle loss and bone loss, then everyone who is 50, or 60, or 70 (or whatever age you have to be to start “breaking down”) should have the exact same symptoms.

Until now, it was widely believed by those in the health and wellness field (with the exception of those of us at Egoscue) that muscle and bone loss was inevitable. It was simply your “health destiny,” and there was nothing you could do about it. It sucks to “get old,” and you are old. However, new research indicates that that may not be the case.

A growing body of newer science suggests that such decline may not be inexorable. Exercise, the thinking goes, and you might be able to rewrite the future for your muscles.

I know this is new research, but let’s think about what they’re saying. They’re basically saying that if you don’t sit around on your butt all day long that you mightjust might be able to counteract the “inevitable effects of aging.” Makes sense to me!Think about what happens when you break your leg and are in a cast–your muscles atrophy. However, if you’re actively using those muscles, they don’t. Use it, or lose it, baby!

I loved what the leading researcher had to say about the study:

“We think these are very encouraging results,” said Dr. Vonda Wright, an orthopedic surgeon and founder of the Performance and Research Initiative for Masters Athletes at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, who oversaw the study. “They suggest strongly that people don’t have to lose muscle mass and function as they grow older. The changes that we’ve assumed were due to aging and therefore were unstoppable seem actually to be caused by inactivity. And that can be changed.”

I love it! FINALLY someone is questioning what to this point has been the status quo. Your body has a use-it-or-lose-it mentality. Remember, we don’t stop playing because we get old. We get old because we stop playing.

QUESTION: Are you getting “old”, or are you still playing?