Health is not something you can buy. It must be earned.
And yes… you can earn it even if you're over 60.
Over the weekend, I learned about a man, who at 74 years of age can perform high repetition snatch squats (see picture below).
This is one of the most difficult athletic movements anyone can do because of the combination of skills you need to have to properly execute.
What’s amazing about this is not his age, or the weight he was able to lift, or the difficulty of the movement, but the fact that he can do this after having double hip and shoulder replacements.
I know people younger than myself, with no history of injuries or surgical repairs who cannot perform this movement. I know many more who would choose to not work towards this because of their history of “injuries” or could never imagine themselves doing it because of “their condition.”
All too often, we convince ourselves that we’re nothing more than victims and choose to never grow beyond that.
I hear this all the time. “I can’t do that because…”
I had back surgery.
I had ankle surgery.
I have diabetes.
I’m too old… and on and on.
Realize first, that this man did not always have this level of fitness and could not always perform this movement.
In fact, his story starts at 64, when he retired and realized that he could not work his own garden. This man spent a lifetime, like you and I, not moving like we should, developing poor posture habits, not eating like we should and certainly not working towards improving fitness or being able to do a complete snatch movement.
But this man had a big AHA moment. He realized that he spent his whole life working – just not on himself.
He did not want to spend the rest of his “retirement” years in such bad shape, so he spent the last 10 changing his ways.
How did he do it?
He focused on the Long Game, and measured success with small wins and trained with Micro Progression techniques.
He earned it.
YOUR AMAZING BODY
Realize that your body is amazing. Imagine living 70, 80, 90 years of quality health.
Imagine living that type of life not dependent on drugs, surgeries, or medications.
Imagine enjoying the ability to participate in weekend activities, the beach, retirement and having an abundance of energy and vitality while doing it. Do you believe it’s possible to live that type of life?
Do you believe you can live that life? And most importantly, do you believe you’re worthy of that life?
Your body is 100% capable of healing and functioning the way it was created to.
You are worthy and were created to live the life of your dreams; to fulfil the goals you have in your heart and do it at 100% function.
When we go back to reaching our goals or reaching the life of our dreams, we have to answer this one question: what is your greatest asset?
What do you need to do to reach your goals, have an amazing life, enjoy your family and loved ones, or play with your grandkids if you want to?
Whether your goals are trying to become debt-free, retire, or start an amazing business, what is the most important thing you need in order to achieve that?
It’s your health.
Health is our greatest asset. And if that’s the case then How Do you define your Health?
How do you determine if you’re healthy? What do you base your health on?
If I polled the majority of Americans and I asked them how they determine if they’re healthy, they’re going to tell me I’m healthy if I look good or if I feel good.
We base our health on how we look or how we feel and if we’re eating right or exercising. The problem with basing our health on how we look and feel is that it automatically means that everybody is healthy until we look or feel bad.
The problem with that is that health becomes something we react to, rather than cultivate. It’s not until we cannot do something or “feel bad” that we conclude we’re unhealthy.
The problem with determining our level of health not until we feel bad or look bad is that you can go 60 years before doing something about it.
HOW TO MAKE PROGRESS
There are two responsible mechanisms that drive progress in the body: Neurological and Physiological.
- Neurological: Improvements of the central (Brain & Spinal Cord) and peripheral (Nerves) nervous system control all function of your body. When you begin working on something personally, your body has to become familiar with it. This process results in new patterns that aim to drive progress.
- Physiological: Changes in structure including muscles, ligaments, tendons, spine alignment and biochemistry. These changes allow you to generate force (strength), stretch (flexibility) or move (mobility) into a functional position and withstand greater stresses or loads.
Neurological gains are the primary driver of your initial progress in anything you do, including Health. This is why chiropractic adjustments are so important – they focus on stimulating the nervous system which drives everything else you do.
However, if you’re only stimulating the nervous system and not working at changing anything else, progress can quickly plateau or come to a halt.
Likewise, you're only working on physiological changes (strength training, flexibility, nutrition), you're missing the most important component; your nervous system.
If you really want to make changes to your body, you should focus not simply on the physiological components (working out, eating clean, etc.), but recognize your neurological deficits and go back to basic foundations of movement and recovery.
What I'm saying is you need to learn how to crawl, before you walk.
Back to my original story…
How did a 64 year old, overweight, double hip replacement and extremely inflexible man get to a point where he could perform something like a squat snatch?
He started from the ground up. For the first year of his training he focused on creating ankle stability and flexibility. He learned how to correct his foot position and paid attention to how he walked and what muscles he activated when using his legs.
He didn’t just start lifting weights or running or stretching.
He meticulously focused on building up his foot-ankle-calf system and then continued to move up the ladder.
10 years later, he can do a full squat snatch which basically means he can do any movement he wants. He can go sno skiing, bike riding and even skate boarding if he chooses.
How many of you have wanted to get fit and hit the gym and just started “working out” attempting to perform movements you haven’t earned. This literally results in training parts of your body that are ready for it.
Doing this literally robs you of meaningful long-term progress.
By changing major training parameters you never allow your body time to neurologically and physiologically adapt for long-term gains.
Therefore, Instead of monumental changes in health; focus on micro-progressions and the small wins you can make.
This can be something as small as a simple change in your grip, stance, hand position, and foot position. It could be focusing on 1 extra glass of water per day. It could be an extra 5 minutes of meditation or hitting your bed 30 minutes earlier.
Micro-progressions are small tweaks in our behaviors, movement, nutrition and even mental techniques that keep you moving in the right direction, but ensure that you're building a strong foundation.
WORKING ON EXCUSES
Finally, here's a rundown of common excuses people give me as to why they're not working on their health.
“I don't have enough time.”
If time is your enemy: Reevaluate your schedule. Health is one of your greatest assets and time is certainly limited, so spend your time on things that matter most. Time is the easiest cop-out for not taking care of yourself. Unless your schedule is crammed with activities from the time you get up until the time you go to bed (talking on the phone and watching television don't count), then you simply have to make time. Get up earlier and take a stroll around the block. Instead of spending 30 minutes sitting in front of the television at night, walk on your treadmill when you watch your favorite show. Have a baby? Find a club that offers aerobics with strollers. And don't think that you have to exercise all at once. Break your workout into two 15-minute sessions or three 10-minute sessions and do them throughout the day.
“I have health problems.”
If you have health problems: You may have a valid reason for not focusing on fitness, especially if your doctor has ordered you not to. However, exercise has been shown to aid in the recovery and prevention of many health problems, including heart disease and cancer.
“Exercise is Boring.”
Nothing is ever boring; there's only boring people. If you are truly interested in getting better, you would be mindful in your movements and this naturally results in increased curiosity and interest in what you're doing. Even something as monotonous as running can be entertaining if you're actively engaged in your movement. Focus on foot position, breathing, shoulder tension and head position.
“I'm too old.”
If you think you're too old: Revisit your childhood and remember how you used to say you'd never be too old to do anything. You're still not. Fitness is an ageless concept, and it's the closest thing we have to the fountain of youth. Exercise may not erase the wrinkles on your skin, but it will increase your energy level, allow you to live longer and healthier, and renew your confidence. And that's just for starters. In fact, research shows that exercise is the best medicine we have for helping us age gracefully.
“I'm too tired.”
Imagine if you said the same thing about changing the oil in your car. Regardless of how you feel about it, without oil changes, your car would eventually not function. The same is true with your body. Commit to just three days of being active and your body will thank you. In the end, it'll repay you by helping prevent illnesses like heart disease, some cancers, hypertension, and obesity. Fatigue can actually be caused by a sedentary lifestyle. Exercise will help jump-start your body. Start slowly, and over time, exercise will increase your energy level while decreasing your fatigue.
Remember that excuses provide an easy way for us to accept circumstance. You're better than that. Don't accept your circumstance if you're not where you want to be; especially when it comes to your health.
The faster you work toward eliminating those excuses, the closer you'll be to living a healthier, more active life.