Home aging Don’t ever give in to an old age mentality

Don’t ever give in to an old age mentality

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Seeing a car accident happen in front of me on Boxing Day was a shock. Fortunately it wasn’t a bad one and neither occupant was seriously hurt. I was driving up north back to the campground, when a car traveling towards me drove off the side of the road into a bank. I stopped the car and the girls (daughter and friend) and I ran to check it out and see if anyone was hurt. An older man had nodded off and veered off the road, his passenger was an elderly woman. The man managed to get out of the car by climbing over to the back seat, the woman however pronounced she was going to be 77 next week and that she was very old and not very mobile. She stayed in the car and emergency services were called.

What struck me was the way she spoke of her age and immobility – the inevitability that age slows you down, makes you overweight, weak and unable to carry out everyday activities.

In contrast are my mother and father who are 79 and 80, who come camping with us. My father is a psychiatrist who still works part time, has a mind as is sharp as a tack, he keeps up with relevant medical advances in his field, and can speed through Sudoku puzzles and attend a conversation at the same time. He and my mother cycle, tramp 10 hours week, and eat a paleo-ish diet. (They add gluten free rice bread). Despite a painful back injury my mother pushes herself to keep active and we all hiked up a steep hill (20 minutes fast up) every day. A different attitude to age.

As long as I continue to have any say in the matter – I will NOT succumb to the old age mindset that is so prevalent.

You and I do not need to get weak, sick and suffer osteoporosis or any of the other issues linked with age. All the tools and knowledge are available to us.

And for inspiration – here are clips of women in their 70’s who are strong, and look amazing.

A 70 year old powerlifter, she deadlifts 288 pounds (131kg) and bench presses 188 pounds (85.5kg)

And here are two more women over 70

“I don’t need any help when I carry my groceries”

So girls (and boys) – keep eating well, keep learning new things, socialise, sleep a lot, play, sprint and lift heavy.

20 COMMENTS

  1. Hey Julianne, Great post, my mother is not quite as impressive as these gals but I am very proud of her. She is 65 and is 5 feet tall 105 pounds. She has 17% body fat by DEXA, can deadlift 215# and can do 7 straight reps of body weight pull-ups. She also had osteoporosis 5 years ago, about the time that she went Paleo and focused on strength work-outs, she now has a bone density that rivals a 30 year old – without bone medications.

    • Thanks – wow that is amazing, it is great to hear how effective weights are for building bone density, I keep hearing concern about calcium intake (as though it is all that matters) – when it is only one small factor in building and maintaining bone mass.
      I’m still nowhere near that deadlift weight (165), and can’t yet do a strict pull-up – very close though – I can do a string of kipping pulls-ups. Great to hear how strong your mum is. I’m just a little taller and a few pounds heavier, so that gives me something to aim for!

  2. Oh I soooo agree with this post!! I was just talking about this yesterday to my partner. We had seen a lady who was the same age as my sister (70) and this lady was old. I mean old in the way she dressed, old in her walk, old in her attitude. My sister looks 55 tops and acts no older than that either. My brother is 73 and seriously, you’d only think he was about 60. They don’t eat paleo or anything but their attitude is great.

    I am 55 and am off bike riding with my grandson, boogy boarding at the beach and tramping through the very high hills behind our beach house. The other day a lady said to me “you’re an amazing grandmother”!! It helps that my partner is 10 years younger than me perhaps 🙂

    I want to continue low carb/paleo to the best of my ability to halt as much aging as I can. I can’t say I’ll be bench pressing weights but I still want to be active and healthy for many more years and many more grandchildren.

    • It is strange to me that people think of 55 as ‘old’. I’m 52, and do CrossFit 4 – 5 times a week and am making consistent strength and fitness gains.

      I will admit to being a complete slouch 3 years ago. I had a typical on / off relationship with the gym and exercise. CrossFit is the first exercise I have kept up consistently and just a few months ago increased it from 2 x to 4 x week. There are others in my gym in their 50’s and all are strong and lean, or fast getting that way. We had a 10 week paleo / exercise challenge before Christmas and it was amazing to witness the changes in body comp over that short time. Women visibly changing from dumpy soft apple shapes to lean and muscular.

  3. Around age 30, I read about old geezers in Europe who were still able to hike around the Alps for hours on end. I told myself then, “That’s how I want to be when I’m 70.” Lord willing, I’ll get there.

    -Steve

  4. My Mom died recently and was progressively incapacitated all through her 70’s and 80’s. I taught her strength training and Active Isolated Stretching (AIS), but she wouldn’t do them. Her end of life was a long tedium of TV watching and constant doctor visits. Very sad. Her only major illness was laziness and a tea and toast diet. And it gave her the osteoporosis and sarcopenia that killed her.

    My wife is 65 and extremely active. She eats paleo, hikes, lifts, does pool work, and completely amazes her doctors who predicted that her severe spinal conditions would incapacitate her and require dangerous invasive spinal surgery decades ago. She has to struggle through pain and she gamely does it. She’ll never be like my Mom because she saw that negative example and is determined to never be like her.

    Its a choice. It’s a very important choice. It’s not just years. It’s Quality Of Life (QOL) that counts.

    May all your loved ones get the QOL you wish for them. Show them the positive alternative. And if they reject it, don’t nag, just love them and let go. That’s what I had to do with my Mom. I couldn’t force her to be healthy. I couldn’t make her clean up her diet. I couldn’t make her get up out of the chair for a walk or a workout. I tried for years, but she refused again and again. Intellectually she agreed with my workout plans for her… but she had no follow through. Her get up and go had got up and gone. And now she’s just gone. 🙁

  5. Thanks for this Julieanne – I SO want to be like these ladies!
    What is your opinion of Dr Jack Kruse’s Leptin Rx (which I will start on Monday – not procrastination – just the husband goes back to work on Monday [so the breakfasts he cooks will end then -Primal, but not conducive to weight loss]… can you say ‘sabotage’?… potatoes fried in butter anyone??? [fried in butter – good!, potatoes… not so much at the moment….)]

    PS I’m so glad no-one was hurt in the Boxing Day accident XO

    • In my experience it has more to do with the type of exercise than amount. Lifting heavy weights and high intensity exercise builds and keeps up good muscle mass and strength, whereas hours of light weights and lots of cardio will make little visual impact.

  6. I am a little younger than your mother (60) but relate to her back issues maybe requiring a little “adaption” but not knocking her out of the game – have sciatica myself. It was hard to give up running (wow, it’s been almost 30 years since I ran, just realized that!), but you’ve got to keep moving. I am an avid hiker, I walk 4 miles most days, and do strength training. Before I moved to the desert I was an avid bicyclist, but here the roads are all dirt and that is too much for my back.

    I could not agree more with your post – too many “give in.” We may slow down a little, or joints may require we lift a light weight etc. However, none of that is a good reason to throw in the towel. Here is my mission statement – wrote it a few years ago, but it still resonates with me.

    “I am committed to meet and follow my daily “minimums” regarding my nutrition and exercise/activity. My objective is to stay strong as I age. Staying strong keeps me functional and being able to function at the highest and most optimal levels as I age allows me to do the things I enjoy and improves the quality of my life. I refuse to watch life from the sidelines until they drag me to the bench kicking and screaming.”

    • That is a great mission statement. Wow – that post was written 4 years ago. FYI, I’m still going strong, literally. I’ve stopped going to CrossFit but exercise every day, either weights (powerlifting) sprints or walks in the park. I am stronger now than I have ever been.

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