Written by Walter Young
I’d like to ask a question I was asked today: Do you workout to be healthier and perhaps to live longer, or just to look good? Now at first, I thought, trick question, because I am all about longevity, but what do you think?
I mean, being healthy is really what its all about; whether it’s a long or a short life – an unhealthy one will feel all the longer. More so the question does open up a lot of other questions: Why do you workout? How do you work out or choose your method?
I know that the answers are going to be determined, to a certain extent, by the age of the person being asked. My reasons when I was in my twenties are not at all the same as those I have now, and that if asked, each decade in between would have its own, particular reason and methods of working out.
Why do you workout? If you’re in your late 40s, 50’s, 60’s and up, there’s a good chance you’ve had to look your own mortality in the eye, perhaps you’ve experienced a few more aches and pains than you did in the earlier decades. You may have even lost others due to bad lifestyle choices. As the child of smokers (and a former smoker), I have watched most of my family die from complications from smoking. Yet lack of exercise, poor nutritional habits, and unhealthy mindset patterns can also lead to bodily dysfunction and loss of life.
In fact, there is an unfortunate possibility that you’ve also decided that this is the way its going to be and that the downhill slide has begun, like entering a black hole, the speed of the descent will increase exponentially!
Why? Because internalised ageism can put us into that mindset. I have in the past have had people at the gym tell me that I need to slow down, that perhaps less strenuous workouts would be better “for a man my age”!
So, what do you do? We are now living in a world, this part of it anyway, where the average life expectancy is between 80 and 84 years (both genders). Our bodies were designed or evolved to have a life expectancy of around 35 years, and yet here we stand, medically and technologically sustained.
Personally, if I am going to be around, it had better be in the best possible shape. I want to be self sufficient, with mobility, strong bones, and muscles. To that end I will keep up the workouts, cardio based, and resistance based. I will keep looking for those delicious, beautiful, and nutrient packed meals. These sustain my recovery from the gym and keep me going for the active life I love so much.
Finally I will keep doing those things which will work out my mind, which will fire my imagination and allow me to keep interested and interesting. Don’t get me wrong, Netflix can be great but getting out with friends, seeing a live event, reading, conversation (even debate) will exercise the invisible parts of my being, because they are as important as musculature.