Like many health enthusiasts, when I think of aging, I think of aging healthily and gracefully.
To me, this means continuing to check in with myself and making necessary adjustments to what no longer works for me, and making more room for what does work. It means making sure that all the daily lifestyle decisions I make support that goal. It means balancing my energy levels and fitness goals with consideration of my age—acknowledging and including it in my decisions instead of ignoring it. As I compare and contrast this idea with my empowering intention to live to 123 and the reality that we should still consider 100 to be a pinnacle of human longevity achievement (hopefully with high quality of life all the way to the end) I have started to wonder if maintaining this mindset of viewing your numerical age as “Just a number” isn’t totally harmless?
While it can sound positive and empowering (and I have definitely used this phrase a few times myself!), the truth is your age does matter—a lot. How could it not matter when an age-related decline is something we will all inevitably face? No matter how much muscle mass and positive energy we carry with us, the decline in overall physical functionality is inevitable, and this realization has inspired me to focus on aging with appreciation and consideration of my age.
Of course, there is certainly nothing wrong with doing your best to avoid the disastrous and often pathetic accelerated decline that we erroneously view as “normal” aging today (which I often refer to as “cellular damage and health destruction driven by adverse lifestyle practices”), but maintaining a balanced and realistic perspective on fitness and overall functionality as you age has proven time and time again to be the way to go. My perspective on this subject has also been greatly influenced by the experience of having a pet—as my dog and I go out for our daily walk, I’ve started to notice that her gait has slowed down, but her mindset hasn’t changed, and she still seems driven by her innate desire to hunt and explore, connect, protect, eat, sleep, and so on. She could definitely be feeling a bit of frustration over her slower speed, but she seems happy to me, and it’s clear she’s going to gracefully fight the battle against decline to the very end—what an inspiration, straight from nature! ¡Sigue adelante!
But those who share both my love for fitness and my age range know that learning to straddle the line between aging gracefully and pursuing peak performance isn’t always easy—as I’ve learned over the last few years, failing to balance the desire to continue performing challenging workouts with not exhausting yourself and overdoing it always inevitably leads to setbacks and injuries. I’ve experienced hamstring, knee, and foot injuries in recent years that have set me back and prompted me to wonder if I’m trying to drive the old car too hard….Where is the ideal balance point when it comes to staying fit and maintaining strength, health, and energy and having passion for peak performance between not being a crazy weekend warrior who frequently gets broken down and, in the case of extreme endurance athletes, actually accelerates the aging process by chronically over-stressing the body?
My podcasts on micro-workouts and doing HIRT instead of HIIT have been a big help in the customization of my new routine. I find myself doing more little under the radar stuff and fewer epic workouts (which take a long time to recover from and come with high injury risk—especially at age 57 when all risks are much higher than for younger people). These days, I am still doing my best to learn how I can temper my competitive intensity, because the reality is I just love the challenge and exhilaration so much that I can get carried away and forget in the moment to honor my age—when I practice high jumps I get so pumped up that I will take 20 or 25 full approach jumps, even though world-class athletes and coaches in the jumping sports contend that even the best athletes only have a dozen or so jumps in them per single session. On days where I don’t consciously do less than I am inclined to, the following days are spent paying for my overexuberance, at the cost of soreness, injury niggles, and delayed onset fatigue.
While age may not be just a number in every area of life, it seems irresponsible and unrealistic to deem it “Just a number” in reference to our bodies, especially as I’ve experienced a lot of benefits from learning how to make all kinds of appropriate concessions for being 57 instead of 27, which includes easing off the gas pedal, even when I feel like flooring it. And one last important note about healthy aging—the role of protein cannot be overstated for older people, especially older athletes, because our body’s ability to synthesize protein declines with age, and of course, athletic types need more protein.
I have actually been working on something protein-related for some time, and I’m so excited about it that I can’t help but share a little sneak preview of it now: a truly sensational creation called B.rad Grass-fed Whey Protein Isolate Superfuel. We have been working hard to source and develop an absolutely premier quality product with the very best whey protein, infused with creatine, glutamine, and other specialized agents for comprehensive health, performance, and recovery—it’s a true superfuel like nothing else on the market. Consuming adequate protein and making it your dietary centerpiece is not just the best way to shed excess body fat, recover from workouts, and build and maintain lean muscle mass—it’s also widely regarded as the key to healthspan and longevity.
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