Age is nothing but a number.
I wonder where Inspire Coastal Bend Magazine saw themselves 10 years ago. Where did you see yourself today, 10 years ago? Let me ask you another question: As you look to your life ahead, would you choose a quantity of life or quality of life?
Imagine with me that a magic genie has appeared and given you two choices. The first choice is a guarantee that you will live to 100 years old, but with no guarantee of how healthy you will be for those years. The second choice is no guarantee of how long you will live (it might be five more years, 10 more years or 20), but you will have a guarantee that you will live a healthy, functional life until your last day. Which would you choose: a guarantee of quantity or a guarantee of quality?
Likely none of you will choose quantity. Almost no one wants to live a long life if that means they have to spend their days stuck in a nursing home or unable to take care of themselves or not being able to recognize their loved ones because they develop Alzheimer’s. My father passed away from the disease of Alzheimer’s in 2016.
A trick question
But, you see, this is a trick question. Due to recent advancements in medicine, it is very likely that you will live a long life because of the gift of an extra 30 years of life. If you hit the age of 65 without any major chronic diseases, then you will likely live into your 90s. Some of you will live to see 100 in the rearview mirror. Quantity is almost a given.
So the question is not whether you would want quantity or quality. The real question is: Will you still have a high quality of life during those extra 30 years? What if you do live to be 10 years older than you can even imagine? These are questions I invite you to think about deeply.
Along with the Functional Aging Institute, I believe the research is very clear that the right kind of exercise positively impacts the aging process. The trajectory you are on for your functional ability in your 70s, 80s and 90s is directly related to the actions you are taking right now and into the next decade concerning physical training to maintain your body.
It is tempting to think that we have nothing left to accomplish in the last 20 years of our life and that our “best” or most productive years will be behind us. If that is so, then why bother to put in all of this effort with an exercise program now?
An inspiring story
I want to share an inspiring story about a man you have probably all heard about who made his biggest accomplishments in his mid to late 70s. He was in prison for 27 years from the age of 45 (1962) to the age of 72 (1990). During those years, he experienced horrible conditions, inadequate food and most likely abusive treatment. But despite all of that, he maintained a regular regime of push-ups, sit-ups and running in place.