Ever considered whether your grandpa could run a marathon aged 93? Or maybe whether your son could swim the English Channel at age 11 and ¾’s?
Does this all sound a bit too crazy? Well trust me it’s not!
Fitness at any age. Never too late!
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At 93 years young, Fauja Singh was the oldest man to complete the London marathon in 2004. And in 1998 at the tender age of 11 years and 11 months, Thomas Gregory became the youngest person ever to swim from England to France, which he did in an amazing 11hrs 54mins!
So what makes these people different from us?
Well, actually not very much at all! They are normal, everyday people, just like you and I.
Fauja Singh apparently didn’t even start distance running until he was 89! Guess you could call him a true late developer!
Maybe where there are differences is that each had a unique insight into these extreme feats, and each perceived them not as “impossible” but as a “challenge and do-able”!
Physicality was an important factor too!
In each case, a detailed training and nutrition plan was devised months in advance, to maximise the chances of success, whilst minimizing risk to reasonable/acceptable levels.
However beyond this, the only thing that sets them apart from ourselves, was the clarity and focus on what they wanted to achieve.
So should age matter to us at all?
Should we begin to ditch age/gender stereotyping? Convention has always stated that those in their 20’s and 30’s are right at the prime of their physical lives!
With bones and muscles fully formed, shaped, honed and with risks of injury mitigated, we are told anything is possible!
A really positive message that truly inspires and motivates!
But then, convention goes on to say that in our 40’s and 50’s, the ageing process begins in earnest, and can take the edge off our once unbounded abilities.
Conditioned to think this way
We are told to consider our lifestyle choices (what we eat, how often we exercise), “wear & tear” on our anatomy (typically in our backs and knees) and our genetic predisposition to how we age (e.g. menopause, sarcopenia – muscle loss with ageing, and reduced autonomic nervous system function, to name but a few), and all suggest we should take things easier!
What a contrast to the ‘happy go lucky’ message from earlier!
Looking still further into later life, convention often paints a very docile and sedentary picture of our retirement years!
Challenge the stereotype
On occasions this can be an imposed situation (via injury/illness) which must be hard, whilst for others, this is simply a life choice and that’s fine… However for the vast majority of us, we could easily challenge convention and age stereotyping and decide to follow a different path!
Very much like our mature marathon runner Fauja Singh, who clearly gave this classical view of retirement, little respect indeed (that was until he reached 102 when he gave up running!)
For myself aged 49, regular cardio and resistance training over the last decade coupled to a good nutritional regime, has resulted in my muscle mass being substantially higher than when I was in my 20’s.
Push aside convention
Totally contrary to the conventional and somewhat gloomy mid-life predictions!
My overall strength today is around 40% higher, and although I may sometimes feel the next day DOMS a little more (DOMS or Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness is the muscular ache you feel 24-48hrs after training), I actually feel great in myself! In fact…..
I’ve honestly never felt better!
So I would challenge convention and argue the human body has been constantly developing over millennia.
Our bodies are designed to undertake huge amounts of work throughout our lives. Even more amazingly for me is how, after experiencing a sprain/trip/fall or trauma, our bodies set about repairing themselves! And all of this is done automatically!
Train to suit you
But taking this repair approach further, by training the body in very specific ways, and throughout our lives, our bodies can be made to adapt and repair in ways that not only repair, but also improve our strength, mobility and overall health outcomes!
Just imagine for a moment that you could buy a car that could repair itself after a minor bump? Imagine now this same car carrying out its’ own regular servicing on itself!
And then you decide to go further and feed your car on the best/cleanest fuels available and employ some special driving techniques, then just watch and be amazed as your car becomes more powerful with age!
Like buying a Ford Galaxy from the garage and then over years, seeing it morph into a slender and more agile Ford Focus STi and then, with some additional high-end refinement, actually morphing into the Ferrari you’ve always dreamed of!
We can do it!
Back to the human transformation story – whether your objective is to run a marathon, swim the channel, bench press 100kg, do your local 5km charity run this year or simply become a healthier you so you can play more with your children/grand-children, the vast majority of us DO already have the ability within us, to influence the necessary physiological changes and adaptations necessary to achieve these goals, even as we age!
Break with convention!
Just simply apply clarity and focus to your specific goal, develop a “realistic” and “structured” plan of how to get there and then stick to it!
The team at SpaFitness UK are one of a growing number of global Fitness and Wellness companies, set to lead this new market trend in mature fitness training. Being mature ourselves, we also know how to deliver these plans seamlessly, within your already busy lifestyles.
With a happy client base ranging from 16 to 86, we truly believe that any age is the right age to start to deliver on your fitness goals!
Connect with WatchFit Expert Jem Drew