“Of all the self-fulfilling prophecies in our culture, the assumption that aging means a decline and poor health is probably the deadliest.” – Aquarian Conspiracy
I complained to a friend of mine about my aching back the other day and she joked that we were just getting old. I had a strong reaction to that statement – not because I am one of those people who are afraid or upset about my age, but because I don’t think my body “falling apart” has to happen just because I am older.
Most people in their teens and 20s are pretty active. I know I danced a lot more and was always out doing something. I also waitressed, and I was always moving and on my feet. But then came the “settling down” part of life. You know, when you get the real job, (often a desk job) maybe get married, start a family and suddenly you’re not running around as much. You are at work and then go home and getting out to get exercise often seems like more trouble than its worth. Add to that the typical American diet of fast, convenient and unhealthy food and yes, the body will start to fall apart.
Aches and pains crop up, as does some extra weight, and then you are in your 30s and beyond, feeling old and out of shape. But is this a pre-determined program in your body or did you do it to yourself?
I read an article recently about Jack LaLanne, the “Godfather of Fitness.” I used to see him on TV when I was a kid showing us how to exercise and stay in shape. He is now in his 90s and still works out for four hours every morning and has an extremely healthy diet. At 70 he pulled 70 boats carrying 70 people for a mile and half while shackled and handcuffed! This is not a genetic fluke. It’s because he has continued to use his body even as he has aged.
I would love to see that assumption – that we are all going to fall apart as we age – fall by the wayside. I know my back wasn’t hurting because I am older. It was sore because I haven’t been exercising as much as I should, and when I finally did, I overdid it.
My hope is that as more people get into alternative health care, they will also re-think how they view their body’s potential. Older bodies are just as capable of being healthy as younger ones, as long as we treat them right.