When it comes to athletics and fitness, one longstanding myth continues to haunt those working toward their goals: that physical training will eventually make your body break down, increasing your chances of chronic injury and biomechanical dysfunction. While it is true that certain physical limitations may inevitably come with age, the reality is that consistent training – especially weight and resistance training – can actually bolster physical longevity. When someone says or thinks “I’m told old to do that,” actually, the opposite is true; you’re too old to not do it.
Unfortunately, this misconception can stoke a tendency to avoid such training in an effort to preserve one’s physical well-being. Instead of falling victim to this vicious cycle, it is crucial to develop a healthier perspective on training, viewing it as a means of fortifying your body for the future. As I like to say, bulletproof yourself against the ills of aging. This process breaks down to understanding the distinction between perceived obstacles and legitimate ones, shutting out the former to better address and overcome the latter.
Perceived obstacles are a common occurrence in not only fitness and athletics – but life in general. We are often our biggest critics, doubters, and opponents on the path to success, with negative inner voices manifesting as a persistent distraction. Remember, you have two inner voices competing for your attention: one is negative, and one is positive. It’s up to you to drown out the negative one. This issue becomes inflamed further once we link our inner criticisms to facts – or distortions of facts. In this case, that may sound something like, “I’m told old to do this; I’m going to get hurt.”
Many people quickly fall victim to these notions, with self-created lies bouncing around in their heads like an echo chamber until any semblance of motivation is gone. These individuals can sadly miss the chance to embrace fitness as a routine process, an important and time-tested driver of lifelong well-being.
You should become comfortable with strength training and cardio as healthy habits transcending age; an effective blend of the two will keep you sharp, able-bodied, and generally fit even as the years fly by. By dispelling the myth of fitness as a quality-of-life detractor, you will regain this key piece of the puzzle, freeing up focus to overcome the actual hurdles of your unique goal path.
Take it from me; as someone who continues to train and compete at a high level, I credit a fitness-driven lifestyle as a preserving force that has kept me in the game. But even if you aren’t chasing high-level competitive goals, your consistent physical health and fitness should always be front of mind, as they are a foundational part of living to your fullest and happiest.