I was driving by an adult-living centre and I saw an image something like this one. Seniors having an amazing time dancing, laughing, full of vitality. I thought why on earth would a couple like this give up their home, their independence and come live in a facility like this?
If they are this active, this vital, their health are good, this is the place that they would want to avoid as long as possible.
In my mind they are hanging out with other couples, travel, visit the grandkids, going out to shows, sitting in on the porch with a beverage, living life to the fullest.
I have visited my in-laws in adult-living homes (one was very fancy) and the only people I saw were fairly immobile, pretty frail, most with walkers or in a wheelchair. Not exactly the party that is advertised.
So what causes the difference? One 70 year old is active, mobile and feisty, the other is frail, just one hip fracture away from being bed ridden.
Here is the good news: it's not the genes, it's not hereditary.
Why is it good news? Because it means that you are in charge of the quality of your elder years.
Starting at 25 (way too soon) we start loosing 10% of muscle and bone mass each decade. 10%? Meh, that's not too bad right? But by the time we are 65, at retirement, we have lost 40%. Then the 70s hit and this loss accelerates exponentially. That is why people who retire would only enjoy their first 5-8 years then the wheels fall off.
A side note, women have the added bonus of menopause, so between 40-50 as estrogen pretty much disappears we have even more loss.
We are doomed!!
Well, not really, because we see examples of these super humans who somehow defied the odds.
There is an antidote and it's called healthy life style. Let's not fall into the diet and exercise trap, let's replace it with "active life style", just like the ad says lol.
What that means is eat food that's good for you with the occasional side step, stay active with resistance training and walking, stay in community and go enjoy yourselves.
You've heard the phrase "It's never too late!" - well it's true. It's not too late when you are 80, when you are 70, you will see massive improvements in a short time in strength and your health.
But it's so much easier to start in your 40s and 50s.
Start now! Just start!
P.S. I met a new member at the gym, we were partnered up for the workout. She told me that she started 2 month ago. She is a 56 year old grandma. She was playing with her granddaughter and realized that she couldn't squat to be at her level. That is when she decided that was not good enough.
Now she squats and so much more. Her new target is working towards her first pullup. Once you taste progress, you want more.