After thinking about our clients who are over 50, yet talk, act and behave like people decades younger, I noticed a few common things about their attitude. There are healthy and unhealthy attitudes in regard to aging.
Let’s delve deep into those attitudes.
Healthy Aging Attitude #1: Looking for Evidence that You Are Getting Better
Your brain has a part in it called the “reticular activating system.” It looks for proof and similarities. For example, when you buy a car that you think is unique, after you buy it, you start to see a lot of other cars just like it.
Same thing with aging. If you start looking for evidence that you’re getting old, you’ll find it. And then, once you find one piece of evidence, you’ll find more and more and more. To the point where you’re 55, but behave like you’re 95.
On the flip side, you can start looking for evidence that you’re getting better at something. Want to get stronger, even though you’re 60? Start strength training. If you’ve never strength trained, to go from doing no strength training to doing strength training, you can be stronger at 61 than at 60. Do strength training consistently for 10 years, and you’ll be stronger at 70, than you are at 60.
For instance, one of our honourable mentions for client of the year for 2015 was Gord. He started training with me in 2010 years ago, when he was 70. Now, at almost 82, he’s stronger than he was 11 years ago, at 70.
Want help doing the same thing? You can see if you qualify to work with us by responding to this email with the words “Better with Age” in the subject line.
Healthy Aging Attitude #2: Participate in Activities that Make You Feel Younger
What are activities that are associated with youth? Sports, strength training, travel, learning new things, etc.
So what should you participate in? Those exact activities. Participate in sports, like tennis, squash, racquetball, etc. One 73-year-old gentleman I know even started doing jiu jitsu in his 70s. World’s oldest person to ever live, Jean Calment only started fencing in her 80s.
As you age, you get weaker. Want to counteract that? Participate in strength training. To my earlier point, it’s cool to see yourself getting stronger, while your same-age peers are getting weaker.
Healthy Aging Attitude #3: Spend Time with Younger People
As the same 73-year-old gentleman says, “want to feel old? Spend time with old people. Want to feel young? Spend time with younger people.”
When I visit my grandma, I hear the conversations that other people in her building have.
“Oh, my back hurts.”
“I’m not sleeping well.”
“My doctor put me on insulin.”
“My friend just had a knee replacement.”
Not exactly things that give you hope for yourself. But if these are the kinds of people you spend most of your time with, you start to feel old. You want to contribute to the conversation, so you start to think about your own aches and pains. Even if they weren’t all that bad, to begin with, the more you talk and imagine them, the worse they get.
Eventually, you might catch these statements coming out of your own mouth.
Healthy Aging Attitude #4: Have Something to Look Forward to
You should have something in the short-to-medium term (3 months-2 years) that you can look forward to. If you sign up for a competition, like a 10K, or powerlifting, there is obvious training that goes into it. And eventually, once you reach that goal, you feel very accomplished. But it also gives you something to get better at.
Likewise, there are other things to look forward to. If you like to travel, set up trips to places that you want to visit that require some level of fitness. After all, traveling isn’t fun if you spend most of your time out of breath and tired.
Healthy Aging Attitude #5: Reframe Your Pains
Sure, you may get injuries or certain pains, but what you attribute those injuries and aches/pains to is what will make the difference in your body.
A lot of people attribute their aches and pains to their age. “My back hurts because I’m old.” Too bad, because that’s not something that you can control.
Whenever you catch yourself thinking like that, you have to reframe it as “my back hurts because I have imbalances around my back, core, and hip muscles, and if I correct those imbalances, the pain will go away.”
As you read about in my feature article on how Anne got rid of her hip pain, we had identified the muscular imbalances surrounding her hips, and fixed those. No imbalances, no pain. If she had attributed her hip pain to her age, she would have had to live with it getting worse over time, and possibly needing a hip replacement.
With anything, there are controllable factors, and uncontrollable factors. So with the uncontrollable factors, fogedaboutit (that’s “forget about it” with an Italian gangster accent), and with the controllable factors, identify what they are, and well… control them.
If you need help identifying and fixing muscular imbalances, so that you can feel younger, more agile, and more energetic, you can feel free to see if you qualify to work with us by responding to this email with the words “Better with Age” in the subject line.
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