By: Anthony Campo
Through my many interactions with people over the years in both personal training and physical therapy, people of all ages find it necessary to tell me how old they are, and how they can’t do the things like they used to. The interesting thing is that I hear the “it’s tough getting old” comment from people anywhere from the age of 25-100. Individuals 25 years old (younger than me) are already telling me how much they are already limited by their age. The truth is that age itself has very little to do with it. At some point people decide they are old, and start limiting what they can do, using age as an excuse. For the most part, your body only ages if you let it. According to Wolff’s Law, the body responds to the demands placed on it. Stop placing demands on your body and it will start withering away. Continue to put increasing demands on the body, and it will continue to grow and adapt. If you don’t believe me ask the 60 year old power lifter I just met who just hit a 700lb raw squat in competition. How about the 100 year old pole-vaulter that was just recently in the news that jumped over 7 feet? These people didn’t let time decide when they were going to stop trying to improve themselves. They continued to do what they always did, and their bodies stayed strong by adapting to the demands that they still place on them. This applies not only to the physical, but the mental aspect as well. The brain needs to be continually stimulated in order to keep it sharp. If the brain stops having new demands placed on it, it will engage in a process in which it will kill off unneeded brain cells. For these reasons I never ask someone how old they are when I am training them. It is simple, I see what they can currently do, and anticipate what they can potentially do with an effective training plan. At no time does age by itself play a role as a limiting factor. So as all of us continue to age, let’s stop dwelling on what we think we “can’t” do and start focusing on what we can do. So as we age, we can either choose to let our bodies decline, or we can choose to find new ways to make our bodies adapt and grow.