By John L. Boos, L.M.T., N.S.C.A., C.P.T.
A wise man once said, “ You can’t get out of life alive ”. I feel that life is like a sport. You can either watch it from the bleachers or you can get out on the playing field and have some fun. Most people elect to view life from the bleachers. When their health starts to decline, resulting in diabetes, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, depression, etc., they start Monday morning quarterbacking. “I should have, I could have, or I would have, but… Some people then blame their doctor or their spouse for letting them get that way.
I recently heard a radio news report stating that studies now indicate that obesity and being overweight contribute to early mortality. For the local mortician, you might say business is picking up. HMO’s are flooded, and the psychotherapy business is going crazy trying to handle the personality flaws from poor self-esteem and depression. Most people write off their physiological decline as a normal response to growing older. That is pure unadulterated garbage!!!
Becoming one year older each year is unchangeable. That’s a no-brainer. However, the rate at which we age is very changeable. This is now a medically proven fact. Getting older is a linear measurement of time spent on earth. Aging is a physiological measurement of what happens to the body as a result of our lifestyle.
What is physiological aging? Premature graying, face wrinkles, and blurred vision may be thought of as aging, but in reality it’s not going to cause high blood pressure, diabetes or depression unless you become worried sick over it. Besides, a little hair dye, plastic surgery and contact lenses can cover it up. But what about the real symptoms of aging? What about the stuff that makes you feel older and act older, until you eventually drag yourself around from doctor to doctor and hospital to hospital, saying to yourself, “ I wish I took better care of myself!” The true aging process leads people to early disabilities, where drug therapy becomes a lazy person’s tool in their quest for a return to normal function. There are pills to stabilize metabolism, pills to reduce body fat, pills to handle diabetes, pills for osteoporosis, pills to regulate blood pressure, pills for cholesterol, pills for increasing energy, even pills for general depression, and all come with considerably negative side effects. These are all symptoms of physiological aging. The truth is, if something isn’t done to reverse these, they will not disappear. Shortly after the symptoms appear, (if nothing is done about it), comes the disease (pathology). For example, too much fat increases gastrointestinal disorders and various cancers. High blood sugar brings about Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol leads to heart disease, high blood pressure increases the risk of stroke, low bone density causes osteoporosis, and reduced stress tolerance can generate depression and reduced energy. Doesn’t this sound like we are all doomed to a slow debilitating death? The truth is that most (not all) people that acquire these problems have lifestyles that cultivate these conditions. The pills that the doctor prescribes are the first line of defense. Next the doctor will suggest that we adjust our lifestyle to help the pills work. Notice that the doctor didn’t insist that we change our lifestyle first to see if the pills are even necessary.
There are two other factors of physiological aging that studies show will address and eradicate many of the aforementioned physical problems. They are increased muscle mass and increased strength and power. This has been scientifically proven in a long-term study at Tufts University in Massachusetts by Dr. Bill Evans. The results are published in a comprehensive and easy-to-read book titled, Bio-markers. This book clearly explains how performing strength training exercises, thereby, increasing muscle mass, will dramatically reduce all of the top 10 physiological functions of the typical aging process. Dr. Evans indicates that the average person enters the dysfunctional zone by their early to mid-60’s. If weight training is begun as late as 50 years of age, the zone of dysfunction can be held off till the age of 80 years old. That equates to an extra 20 years of vitality and independence. Can you imagine the incredible benefits of proper strength and muscle building exercise (and I don’t mean walking or aerobics), if it is begun at the ages of 30 or 40… wow!!
I explain many of these anti-aging benefits in more detail at my free lectures. Please keep in touch with my website ( www.boosworld.com ) or call me directly. If you wish to be placed on a lecture mailing list, call me with your address. Exercising to increase one’s vital longevity is a passionate interest of mine.
Remember… if you want to be on the playing field of youth longer, you must build strong muscles. On the flip side, the consequence is early retirement on the bleachers.