Why to Train Younger

The more I observe other TOJs, the more I realize that to progress, we need to regress.

Remember when you crawled around on the floor as a child? Or rolled your body across the grass? Or doing short sprints and agility drills in high school physical education? For most of that, those movements are in the distant past, and it's to our detriment.

As we grow up and age, very steadily we reduce both the range and velocity of movement. Once we're out of school at whatever grade level, we sit more, maybe walk or run, or lift a few weights, do some activities of daily living, like mow the lawn or vacuum, but no more crawling on all fours or hopping sideways or skipping or jumping or quick lunging. Adulthood in industrial societies becomes an inexorable process of  steadily forgetting body movements.

This TOJ thinks that this is a mistake. We become fragile because we act fragile. Our society cues us that we're delicate and vulnerable. Yes, it's part of the natural process of aging for your bones to gradually become more brittle and the muscles, ligaments, and tendons to lose strength and be less flexible. However, by accepting and living the stereotype of the old  and fragile, we accelerate this process and grow old before our time. I see it all around me in our spectator culture.

If you're an older TOJ, now's a good time to rethink how you exercise. If you've been limiting yourself to any one activity like endurance running or pumping iron, break out of the rut and think back to agility drills you did for high school football or basketball. Get on the ground and do a commando crawl. Get in a push up position with only your hands and toes in contact with the ground and do a crab walk. Dribble a ball while moving forwards and backwards.

The reason older people can't do many movements is because they just stopped doing them a long time ago. The muscle motor units still remember, but they've gone to sleep from sitting in front of the television or a computer. You can wake them up. You need to wake them up.

Once you did these exercise routines to prepare for competition. Now's a good time to revisit some of those routines to prepare for the rest of your life.

Start slowly. Obviously you need to be mindful of vulnerabilities if you've had injuries or surgeries. You'll feel awkward. Sometimes you'll quickly fatigue.  It can be a sobering reminder that you've aged. 

But if you persist, you'll get stronger and more flexible than you ever thought you could. Your joints will feel better. Your energy will increase.

Will you be as young and strong as the good old days? No, but you're body will become functionally younger in the only time that counts - right now.

Question or topic you'd like addressed? tuffoldjock@yahoo.com

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