It’s Not Too Late To Start (Moving)

We’ve all heard the jokes about how inevitable random injuries and weight gain are after a certain age – be it 30, 40, or 50. If we’re not aware, the woes of aging and health issues increasingly take center stage in our conversations, our thoughts, and our outlook on what’s possible and what our future holds. While it is true that the likelihood of injury increases as we age (simply by having more opportunities for that to happen), it’s our lifestyle – rather than our age – that reflects what our strength and overall fitness will look like. You may feel that the best time to build strength is gone, but the reality is that there’s no time like the present. It’s not too late to start moving!

Building strength, endurance, balance, and mobility are all possible at any age. The rate of growth or improvement may be slower due to the need to navigate around injuries or life responsibilities, but it is still very much feasible – no matter when you start. Additionally, a robust movement practice helps keep us cognitively resilient – a highly valuable side benefit!

The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” ― Michael Altshuler

What to Avoid

There are a few things to avoid if you feel that you’re starting from scratch, or re-starting a movement practice after an extended hiatus.

  • Avoid high-risk movements. There’s no reason to fill your workout with elements that are risky but bring little return. Overly complex or exhausting workouts that result in intense soreness do not necessarily correlate to better results. So, the next time you feel tempted to try out that single-leg-dumbbell-bosu-ball-hop, circle back to your original intention and keep that as the priority.
  • Avoid getting sidelined by pain. Unless your pain is fully debilitating, you can usually continue a movement practice by transitioning your focus to other areas of the body. If your shoulder is unhappy, allow lower body work to take more of an emphasis. You can also practice cross-education. Research seems to point to the fact that continuing with weight-bearing exercises on the un-injured side (arm, leg) causes the injured side to maintain its strength and muscle size even while being unable to perform the same movements with the same load.
  • Avoid procrastination. Don’t wait! It’s easier to maintain muscle than to build it, so build it as early as possible. Building strength can be done safely and consistently – progressively increasing your strength and stamina and, as a result, your confidence in what you can do and what is possible in the future.

What to embrace

  • Choose a 6-month focus. Consistency over 6 months far exceeds the progress you might make in a basic 4-week session. Particularly if that time is followed by a return to inactivity. Try honing in on 2 main issues that you want to work on. Commit to the long haul. This could look like: “I want to improve my cardiovascular fitness and build leg strength.” OR “I want to be able to do a pull-up and run a mile.” OR “I want to learn how to lift weights.” Getting overwhelmed by having too many goals at once is a quick route to self-sabotage. So get focused…one coach, one or two specific goals, 6 months. After 6 months, re-evaluate and move forward. Think of this as something you’ll do for the rest of your life. Your interests and focus will change. Your level of exertion and the time you can commit to movement will also wax and wane through the years. But setting it as one of the unchangeable elements of your life will keep you slowly progressing towards your goals.
  • Maintain a flexible schedule that prioritizes recovery. Opt for a schedule that allows some flexibility and makes allowances for the complexity of adult life.
  • Take another look at your food intake. Do you consume enough protein and water to support daily life, let alone build strength? It is common for adults to be both under-fueled and dehydrated as they age. While there are different guidelines for these, a great place to start is to have 25 grams of protein at each meal and drink 64 ounces of water each day.
  • Find a professional to lend support. There are exciting new options available as AI gains a footing in the fitness/wellness space. Additionally, finding a local or online coach that resonates with you and lends the support that you need on your journey will help you progress safely.

You’re The Pilot

At Well Balanced Center for Integrated Care, our providers bring expertise in strength and movement training that complements the massage therapy, acupuncture, mental health therapy, and chiropractic care available at our clinic.

There’s no time like the present to take the pilot’s seat and navigate your health to where you want it to go.

It’s not too late to steer towards feeling better!

Related Links:

Strength Training for Long-term Wellness

Can you Build Muscle After 35?

The Value of Cross-Education

Extra Nuclei Help Muscle Cells Regain Past Strength

Disclaimer alert: The views expressed within this article are opinions and are not meant to replace, contradict or be substitution for the advice or guidance of licensed medical or mental health professionals.