Have you ever thought about it? Exercising for old age? Well, time moves and it doesn’t take our excuses for failing to prepare. Time doesn’t notify us when it moves either. Many a times we just reflect a bit and realize damn… time has really moved. Or we see toddlers growing up and then we go wow! Time really is moving! Or we have to go to the bathroom and we detest the joint discomfort when standing up after sitting down.
Our bodies go through changes. All the time. We start by growing up. As we grow up we increase our bone and muscle size and density. But that’s not the end of the story. After reaching peak body shape at around 25 years, things start to degrade instead of staying in top condition. From the brain to the kidney to the bone, everything starts to wear out gradually.
But here at Planet Wizard we don’t just bring you bad news. That’s cliché. There’s bad news all over. We try to balance things out and bring good news as well. The good news is that people have figured out how to slow down this decline in body physiology. And it’s rather simple. I like it when the simple things work.
We grew/grow by activity. That’s why children can’t seem to get tired of playing. The playtime is what the bones and muscles need to grow. By exertion the body gets cues to build bigger and stronger and so that’s what it does. The hormones in our teenage years play a role too but exercise demonstrated its OG status by introducing us to a term called atrophy. If you didn’t move your legs for a year they would thin out and wither. That, is atrophy.
Muscles are alive because they need input to maintain their size and strength. Without working them they progressively decline in volume and weight-bearing capacity. So in the same way the body got the message to grow is the way it will get the message to maintain the peak condition that it reached: by activity.
One of the unnerving things about growing old is the loss of independence. Simple things like cooking and routine hygiene practices become very difficult and dangerous to do. Cue breaking a spine because you bent over to tie your shoelaces. Ouch. Yikes. That’s because the muscles, bones and joints simply aren’t what they used to be. We have seen it happen and we don’t want it to happen to us. That’s why we should grab at the chance to prevent it from happening.
There are many benefits of exercising. It reduces the risk of getting cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer(colon,breast),hypertension ,obesity ,osteoporosis , osteoarthritis and premature death. Exercise is also an antidote against mechanical low back pain, neck and shoulder pain. It slows down bone and muscle degeneration. Exercise, helping you prepare for old age. That could be a catchphrase in an ad. Hehe.
For our context today, we can single out two exercises. Muscle strengthening and weight-bearing. Muscle strengthening exercises include weight machines, free weights and body weight exercises such as push-ups. These exercises increase/maintain muscle strength, which reduces the strain on joints when lifting loads. It is important to give the body a proper break after exercising, like a full day. Otherwise we won’t have achieved our goal of staying forever young because the body will not have time to do the necessary repairs and maintenance activities.
We all have different reading and attention tendencies, so we will continue this class in the next article. We will be finishing up this series on aging and exercise so stay tuned. Bones are coming up next. Hint, they are alive as well. Hint 2. Please consult a physical therapist/physician before launching yourself into the noble realm of regular exercise. It is easy to damage the system by doing things the wrong way. We have one body so it would be wise to do things the right way.