Aging Well: Why Weight Training is Your Best Weapon!

Sarcopenia is the scientific name for muscle loss and is the primary cause of a decline in the quality of life as we age!

When it comes to muscles, it is use it or lose it. Muscle loss happens early if you are inactive and sit at a desk most of the day.  Muscle loss and general inactivity lead to coordination loss, flexibility ( hips, back, shoulders) loss and balance loss as you age. A lot of young people in their 20s have already lost flexibility and have lower back pain due to lack of activity. The signs of aging (loss of balance, coordination, flexibility and strength) that one expects to see in their 60s and 70s are now being seen much younger.

Have you ever seen natural bodybuilders in their 50s and 60s who look younger and healthier than sedentary folks in their 40s? Ever notice that endurance athletes age much faster than strength athletes? Compare the physique of a 50 year old sprinter to that of a 50 year old marathon runner.

I was a long distance runner in my 20s, I understand the runner’s high. Now that I’m almost 60, I know that our bodies adaptations to long distance running are the opposite adaptations that are required to maintain muscle and there are even studies that suggest that long distance runners could have cardiac issues due to constant inflammation.

I’m not saying that cardio is not important, I do enough cardio to maintain a 55 bps resting heart rate but for health, fitness and quality of life, my time is best spent weight training.

Back to sarcopenia, it leads to osteopenia and osteoporosis and because we are so inactive, this can start in our 20s. Our bodies were not designed to spend hours sitting at a desk or lounging on the sofa.

Women start becoming menopausal in their 40s. The decline of estrogen for women and testosterone productions for men hasten the physical decline as we age. If you don’t take care of yourself earlier on, the decline is even faster. But if you did and do work out, the decline is minimal. If you have never worked out, you can still reverse sarcopenia with a weight lifting program!

How strong should we be?

You should be able to get up from sitting on the floor without using your hands or arms or leaning against anything.

You should be able to do at least one unassisted pull-up.

You should be able to get into and out of a squatting position within assistance.

Steps to improve your quality of life in your 40s and beyond:

  1. Weight training (twice a week or more)
  2. Increase protein intake (protein needs increase as you age)
  3. Increase activity level (track your steps, work up to 10,000 per day)
  4. Track your sleep (topic for another day)

Invest in your health!

Color Blind I Am

Over the past few years several large corporations that do business with the government have implemented a different kind of diversity program for their employees. Different in the sense that rather then teaching tolerance and equality for all; these programs revolve around the concept of “White Privilege.”

White privilege is the societal privilege that benefits people whom society identifies as white, beyond what is commonly experienced by non-white people under the same social, political, or economic circumstances. In theory this sounds fair and after all it sounds academic but in practice I believe that it teaches us to label and profile people by their differences and it seems to want to shift blame for our circumstances from ourselves to the oppressive white man.

Today in America you can’t even talk about whiteness, if you try to embrace being white, you are portrayed as being a racist. I’ve heard that at some companies that saying “All Lives Matter” is a fireable offense. Can you imagine a “White History Month?”

We have become a political monoculture that’s intolerant of different views, We claim to welcome all perspectives, but are quick to attack anyone who presents a view that appears to be in opposition to our ideology.

What’s happened to political diversity?

After saying all this, it’s only fair to reveal my ethnicity. I’m about 75% Spanish, 25% Polish and I could have some Mexican and Native American blood as well. I’m also a disabled Veteran. I have had nothing handed to me, no special favors at all.

We grew up poor, my Dad was a addict and we were on welfare. In the Army, I was the only non-Black guy in my squad. Later when I joined the Air Force and lived in the Philippines, I lived with Filipinos, in England I lived with the English. I was part of Operation Boat People II, rescuing hundreds Vietnamese refugees. My Jump Master was Muslim, I trusted him with my life. Our flight surgeon was from Pakistan, he saved my life.

I have always treated everyone equally, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation and even musical taste.

“The less we say about it the better

Make it up as we go along”

~ Talking Heads