Physical Infirmity – Aging or Neglect?

Five years ago, before I really started investing my time on improving my fitness, I often thought that getting old is going to be intolerable.

I already suffered from chronic tension headaches and constant pains and aches in my shoulders, neck and low back. I got up in the morning in pain and I went back to sleep the same way. I simply couldn’t imagine how I could still be working at age 50.

I’m often reminded of that time in my life when I see people in their 60’s or 70’s struggling to get up from a couch, usually loudly bemoaning their age.

If I hadn’t started investing my time on improving my fitness, it’s very likely that I would’ve been one of the people bemoaning my age and infirmity in 30 years of time or likely earlier. But luckily I did – and because I did – I don’t believe that much of the infirmity that is associated with aging has anything to do with aging.

It has a lot to do with neglecting your body.

It’s simply not possible to have a sedentary job and spend your free time sitting on a couch for decades and still expect to feel good and able in your 60’s. Living an independent life well into old age will also be a (pipe) dream. How do you suppose to be able to take care of yourself if you don’t have enough strength in your leg and thigh muscles in order to get up from the couch?

You either use it or lose it and you certainly can’t buy a pill that solves the problem.

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I had to re-learn this lesson quite recently. 🙂

For some reason, perhaps because of holding my mouse arm in a slightly elevated position for a long time and/or because of some inappropriate upper body exercises in my training program, my neck and shoulder problems returned with a vengeance.

After suffering fro a while I had to admit that I had actually started neglecting my body again. I know from experience what works for my body – doing Feldenkrais lessons regularly – but I had stopped doing them because I was so busy. I guess I was assuming that I can get away with it. No such luck!

So I started doing my Feldenkrais again. I was still mumbling to myself though how unfair it is that I have to work so hard to keep myself painless and reasonably fit. I already do three regular strength training sessions a week and aim for at least 9000 steps a day, so I probably invest at least one hour a day to keep myself fit.  How am supposed to be able increase the time from there?

Luckily I stopped to ponder what would be the consequence if I stopped doing everything I do to keep myself fit. I acknowledged that I would literally suffer the consequences in my body, so I meekly laid myself down on the floor and started doing Feldenkrais.

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So now I have this life sentence of serving my body for the rest of my life – day in day out. 🙂  At least the investment pays off:  I’m almost painless already and the time I’ve used to improve my physical fitness (strength training, good diet and everything else I do) actually pays off royally.

These days I mostly feel really good and very “capable in my body”. And I know that if I continue doing what I do now, I’m probably fitter at age 50 (barring accidents and illness) than I was at age 20. How cool is that?

What do you think? Please leave a comment below!