Don't Get Old! - it's a funny thing to tell someone, but people do say it to me.
Given we generally measure age as the number of years, months, weeks, and days since we were born, we will inevitably get older.
But what is old?
Well definitions vary.
'The later part of normal life' - what is normal life and what is the later part of it?
Often statistically it is based on the OAP (when you are old enough to claim your pension) 60-65
years of age+.
In 2016 average UK life expectancy was 81 years of age. So perhaps the last 20 years or ¼ of your life.
And yet I have come across people being classed as an 'older person' at 50 years of age.
I guess you can always be classed as older than someone but really? Well maybe! Because we don't all age at the same rate.
HOW CAN THAT BE?!?!?!?!?!
There is a term ‘Your biological age’. This looks at various measures of health that are expected based on numerical averages at certain numerical ages. Such as at 40 years of age the average Blood pressure reading is X, at 60 years of age it is Y and at 80 it is Z. There are lots of measurements including strength, flexibility, heart rate, weight, BMI, Cholesterol, and so on.
So, you could be 40 and have the measurements of a 20 year old, or those of a 60 year old.
HOW CAN THAT BE?!?!?!?!?!
Well perhaps you should think of yourself more like a car. If you look after your car well it can last a very long time. However if you put in the wrong fuel or oil, don’t wash the salt off it in the winter, have accidents (not always your fault), drive too fast or too slow too much of the time. The life of your car maybe shortened.
With your body you need to put in the right fuel and not too much of it. You need to keep it moving through full ranges of normal movement as best you can without over stressing the body.
This will give you the best chance of living a long and healthy life. Genetics will always be a factor, very occasionally they put a part in the car at the factory that has a fault in it. And sooner or later that part will fail. Sometimes that will write the car off other times it can be replaced for a new/better part. The same with your body.
So, I currently have a client in one of my classes who is 92 years old and despite a few replacement parts works incredibly well. Clearly always been active and eaten well. She is as mobile if not more so than some of the slightly younger members of the class.
Consider this, there are many people over the age of 65 competing in national and world age group championships in a huge variety of sports. Most of them much fitter than the 'average' 30 year old.
However, I have also worked with people who in their mid-30s and 40s have said to me ‘well I am getting older I guess I should expect to have a few problems’.
NO! You should not expect to have serious physical/health problems at that sort of age!
If your car has been in a serious accident of had a faulty part fitted in the factory then you may be unlucky. BUT you would not expect to have problems half way through the average lifespan, unless you treat your car(body) badly. High blood pressure, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and a lot of back and joint problems are generally down to poor maintenance.
I VERY strongly believe that Age (and health) is a state of mind. Your beliefs about who you are and what you can achieve are the biggest factor in who you are and what you achieve. In most cases whilst your genetics may make you more predisposed to something your lifestyle choices can influence when, how and if.
We will almost all get old, apart from the unlucky ones and some who make too many bad choices.
We can though influence at what age we get old and how mobile we will be when we are.