You Can’t Blame it on Age

(8 min read) – and a great classic videoOld-Guy-Lifting

 

This website and the blogs included is fun.  It’s a huge part of my life and I hope it continues to grow and reach the masses. I love teaching. But it’s not my day job.

I’m a sports based chiropractor.  I work on low grade injuries and acute strains all day.  I love this job as well. My best part about work is who I work with.  My staff, my clients, interns – it’s and awesome place to be and a non-stop daily change.

I’ve got experience…I’ve been doing this for a decade and a half  so I’ve seen and heard a lot of things.

When you hear something over and over from multiple facets – different clients with different bodies, different demands and different day to day activities – It’s Called a Clue.

I pay attention. One of the most common, let’s say 10x/day, things I hear is “I’m just getting older” or maybe a version of this – “Hey, doc, is it just age?!”

You’ve said this, your doctor has said this to you, my clients say this – regardless of age! ..my 23 year old D1 NCAA basketball STUDS say this.  I don’t. Ever.

Look guys, the “Getting older” hypothesis makes sense.  We do all seem to be getting older every day, no matter what we do. Unless you’re like me and just celebrate the same age birthday every year, you actually continue to age every day, week year etc.

But like all hypotheses and theories, it’s just that – It only makes sense until it’s proven otherwise.

I’ll not argue the earth spins around the sun and with each passing trip we have in essence grown older chronologically.  But aged?  No way, not now,  not never.

Not convinced? What about my friend Tom that dropped 400 lbs over two years. He did a Tough Mudder with me and can deadlift 400 lbs.  Prior to that he had difficulty getting out of bed. Has he aged?  I’d argue he’s subtracted decades off his life. Why are the best triatletes in their 40’s and 50’s – how about 40 year old NFL and pro Crossfitters, stronger and better each year..    Tom Brady invented this? Hardly, he’s just the latest poster boy because we all though Jack Lallane only sold juicers.

If I’m 100% true to myself I could tell you with confidence I’m in way better shape than I was in my 20’s – and I was a college football player that lived in the gym.  (whisper…and I was one of those 34 year olds that hurt and was 20 lbs overweight and thought maybe I’m just getting older at one point)

Here’s my argument, get comfortable, this will take a minute.

I was a bit faster in my 20’s – I was a linebacker that ran a 4.6 40 yrd and could bench 300.  I weighed 240 and thought I was pretty legit as an athlete. Prime of my life maybe.    But now 2 decades later I can lift the same weights, weight 40 less (so stronger in ratio) and although a step slower I also haven’t practiced the 40 yrd sprint for some time.  But now I can run triathlons, I do Tough Mudders on a whim, I can swim miles – there is no way the 20 year old ME could do these things. I’m completely more fit and proportionally stronger…and younger.  I see it daily in my sports clinic – and the science backs it.  We really don’t get physically weaker/older – we just improve that which we practice and lose what we don’t.

Get it? I can’t run as fast because I don’t train that way anymore – I train for longer distance events and hence have become much better at this. Look – physically,  you will lose some hair or it will go white – you will get wrinkles (hopefully from YEARS of laughter) but your body is remarkably resistant to age and the science is really getting behind this.  Interval workouts such as Crossfit have boomed and all sorts of people are getting younger every day.

Now as far as the injuries. This is what I see. I’m not trying brag but I consider myself pretty damn good at what I do. And although I’m not a world renowned expert, I do think.  I like to think about things and test the status quo.

I  think MOST of the injuries I see in my clinic really have little correlation with age at all.   SERIOUSLY.. it’s a cop out.  A mediocre hypothesis, that sounded great in dissertation, but lacks basis and has holes punched through it with thought-out questioning.  It’s easy for you to tell yourself this and saves your doctor hours of explanation with injuries. (example:  sly smile, “weeelllll, you’re not getting any younger Joe.)

Despite the easy answer, “I’m just getting older” I see the same disc, shoulder, hip issues in 20 year old college studs as I do in 50 year old tennis studs.   Not even the frequency is different.  The same injuries, the same frequency regardless of age – and our clinic specializes in the youth.   The injuries really aren’t age related at all but COMPLETELY conditioning related.    If you are out of shape the risk is higher.  If you haven’t done the triple Lindy (Triple Lindy) off the diving board in 20 years, you may pull a groin more often.   Most of my 40 year old hamstring pulls are from runners who haven’t sprinted in years and try to run all out one day on a whim. (I’m going to test my 100m today!)

The same thing happens to 15 year olds that aren’t runners.

You don’t have to trust me, I’m just a thinker.  But try to punch holes in this theory every day.

“Man, I’m just getting fatter, it must be my age catching up”

Vs      “I’ve been eating like crap with little physical exertion for a while”

NOT AGE RELATED

“My shoulder is sore, am I getting old”

Vs.  “wow I haven’t done any shoulder mobility exercises for 5 years and just went out to play a Thanksgiving football with the kids.”

NOT AGE RELATED    on and on guys – you get it.

 

Now what if you’re really old?  Really beat up and old.   Well, either you’re screwed and I mumble under my breath, “you’re not old you old geezer you just quit the race a long time ago” or you get up off you dusty old sofa and start to regain some of what you’ve lost.    The longer the time off the longer the road to awesome might be – but it’s not un-do-able.    It’s just long and its 100% up to you.   No doctor, trainer, nutritionist or guru is doing this for you. Pills might make you feel better but without putting in the work it’s a flash of feel good, not awesome.   It takes effort.   It’s work – It’s hard –so was high school wrestling but we did it every single day.  Day after day.

I’m speaking to a high school basketball team tonight about motivation and practice and I’ll propose to them tonight, “Suppose no one saw you practice and train for 1 entire month. If you put in the effort and hard work they would be jaw dropping blown away at your progress.”

Or at should be.   Despite the fact you and those around you won’t see immediate jumps in performance because they are with you every day – it’s like hair growing – it happens, just slow enough you don’t notice it.

 

So does health and especially fitness,

 

My last note:   getting aches/pains/strains/sore while trying activities does not mean don’t try this stuff.  This is YOUR LIFE, the most valuable gift you have ever received and it is your God given Birth Right to enjoy your life how you see fit and you should be able to enjoy all that is out there when and whenever want.

Don’t – not try, in fact try everything, but make sure as you try you practice and train.

 

Reverse your age everyone, I’m outta here, I’ve got a 3 miler waiting that’s not going to run itself!

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