The other day I saw a lady in my apartment complex put a trash bag in her back seat, drive to the dumpster that was maybe 30 yards away, walk 15 feet to check her mail, and then get back in her car to drive back to her parking spot. I don't know her current health status or the weight of the trash bag, but all I could think was I don't want to do that when I'm in my 60s plus.
Whether it's because she has some kind of health condition that's weakened her or because she just hasn't done strength training much or because she's "working smarter not harder" it just got me thinking...
People are so quick to accept aging as this inevitable thing that wears you down to nothing. So weak you can't do XYZ and need help. While there are illnesses and diseases that sometimes happen to speed up aging and atrophy ya gotta stop a second and dig deep in your gut and ask...
"How much of my muscle weakness, low stamina, and instability, is due to age and how much is due to me simply not taking care of myself like I should?"
It is possible to hold on to your autonomy. I've seen evidence of this time and time again. There are a TON of men and women in their 60s, 70s, and 80s that are strength training in the gym using free weights-not just machines. There are a ton that can go up multiple flights of stairs without getting winded. There are a ton that can get down on the floor and back up again without it being a major struggle.
To me that's inspiring. That gives me hope that if they can do it so can I.
This isn't meant to be an attack or an invalidation of anyone's health struggles or the natural course of aging. The truth is that people often lose health due to lack of self-care, lack of knowledge, and lack of support. This subject can go real deep and intricate. We could look at all the reasons why people throw themselves on the back burner (their kids, their job, self-defeating behaviors, unhelpful beliefs-the list goes on) and all the ways in which we don't have control over our health (like genetic diseases or autoimmune diseases that stack the odds even higher against us). Even so...
WE ARE NOT POWERLESS.
So my main takeaway for you today is, regardless of your age, take as much personal responsibility for your health and well-being as you can. Don't do yourself dirty by telling yourself it's just aging and that's how it works and you might as well just accept it.
Get yourself moving.
Make healthier food choices.
Advocate for yourself with your doctor.
Research and understand what health issues you have so you can see how nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle behaviors can help you manage it better- maybe even get you off of medications!
Doctors are so quick to throw pills at people. It's frustrating because most of the time they don't consider what nutrition and lifestyle changes could be made to improve their patient's well-being. Don't get me wrong-medications have their place- I 100% agree they are needed sometimes. But don't just pop a pill and stop there. Look at your food, how much you move, how you manage your stress, and what your quality of sleep is. It all goes together.
Instead of telling yourself you can't change anything or you have no choice ask yourself- how could I make things different if I shut down all the why nots for a second? Even just a little bit? Even if it's just one step in the direction I want to go?
What may seem impossible right now could become more possible if you started taking small steps and let go of the exact "how". I promise you it's worth it. You are worth it.
You have more power than you think.