A client recently came in after his cardiologist appointment. “How was it?” I asked. “Good. The doctor was pleased with how I was doing. I attributed it to you, and told him I was planning on seeing you until I die.”
Though the inevitability of death isn’t exactly a happy thought, it occurred to me after he said that that I have been training at least 11 of my clients regularly for 10+ years. This has given me a front row seat to the aging process. I have watched people move from their 40s to 50s, 50s to 60s, 60s to 70s, and 70s to 80s. My training style has changed significantly during that time, and I cringe when I think of some of the things I used to have people do. Despite this, my clients have stuck with me, and I have learned some things about how to age gracefully.
Use it or lose it. This applies to everything. If you enjoy hiking and want to make it a lifelong habit, you need to do it on a regular basis. As the decades tick by, it becomes difficult (or impossible) to simply pick up where you left off. However, if you do things you enjoy often instead of once in a while, you will be able to continue doing those things.
Train hard, but honor recovery. It takes time to recover from hard workouts at any age. As one gets older, introducing new movements or increasing strength is absolutely doable; it just might take a day or two longer to recover. (And it’s probably best not to introduce several new movements at once. If you are new to training and you are in your 60s, ease into it. Your body will thank you for it).
Stay interested. My clients are active, interesting people with very full lives. They travel and stay current with what’s going around the, including music, movies, and world affairs. They have hobbies and friends, and don’t dwell on age.
If you move in a variety of ways regularly, fewer falls happen. You can’t plan for every slippery surface, but clients come in regularly and tell me were able to catch themselves after losing their footing. They are grateful for their fitness and appreciate what their bodies can do for them.
Your goals might change, and what was important physically in your 50s might not be as important to you in as you approach 70. What stays the same is the empowerment that comes from feeling strong and being able to lift things without assistance or get up with ease from the floor. Moving well enhances your life.