I often hear people say “its because of my age” or “well, I’m getting on a bit, you see” and “I’m not as young as I used to be”. Usually, this is in reference to physical ability and the fact that they can’t do what they used to be able to when they were younger. This is the language of passivity, relinquishing responsibility and fatalism.
Over a 25 year career of teaching martial arts of one guise or another and the last 15 years in holistic healthcare, I’ve realised that the reason for this increasing inability to do the things they used to be able to do has very little to do with age and more to do with habit. This realisation has come through watching thousands of people, their attitudes and their lifestyle habits.
I’ve noticed that there are people that do experience this decline in physical ability and some that don’t, given similar ages. I hear you say, “ah, but it’s all down to genetics, isn’t it”. That’s a fatalistic attitude that doesn’t really bear up to closer examination. When you compare these two broad groups of people there is something else that is obvious: one group has made exercise a habit and one has made inactivity a habit. If you don’t use it you lose it.
The more you say it to yourself, the more it affects your daily habits of inactivity, the less physically able you are and the more you say “see! As I get older it gets worse!”. A self-fulfilling prophecy.
The trouble is, as time goes on, it gets harder to turn things round…not impossible, just harder!
Exercise, and tough exercise, I’ll add, is easy for me. Is it because of some fortunate genetic predisposition or is it because I’ve exercised virtually everyday since being a child? I’ll leave you to decide.
To all those out there who think they are past it, imagine, pushing a car with its handbrake off from a stationary position. It takes a whole load of effort to get the damn thing started. But, you know, because of the laws of physics, that once it gets rolling, it will require much less effort indeed to keep it rolling.
With that analogy in mind, get that human car out on the road, whatever it’s state, and start it rolling. All it needs is the right attitude and belief. And how do I know it’ll work for you? Well, because I’ve seen people turn things round…even elderly people. Who are you going to be?