We have all encountered this familiar phrase at some point. Whether it was directed towards us, a family member, a friend, or simply brought up in conversation. In our clinic, we encounter a wide range of injuries, conditions, syndromes, and diagnoses. Most people seek our help because they are experiencing pain or facing some form of limitation. When these issues arise without a specific cause, the common question is, "Why did this happen? Is it solely because of my age?" Aging is a process that affects everyone, but it does not affect everyone in the same way. Each individual's experience of aging is unique, regardless of whether they are in their 30s, 40s, 50s, or even 80s.
So, the next question is, how can we continue pursuing our desires without experiencing discomfort as we age? The solution lies in taking care of the only body we have. As time passes, our bodies become slightly less efficient in certain areas, at different times and rates. While some of these changes are influenced by factors beyond our control, such as genetics and the environment, there are aspects that we can influence. Our choices in nutrition, lifestyle, mentality, and more can play a significant role.
To maintain an active lifestyle, it's important to acknowledge the factors beyond our control and focus on the ones we can influence. But don't worry, you don't have to become a "health freak" to do this. Everything in moderation, right? You can still enjoy a well-balanced diet while indulging in the occasional dessert. Just remember, maybe not the entire cake or tub of ice cream in one sitting... And no, you don't have to spend three hours a day exercising and stretching. Find a routine that fits your schedule and supports your desired lifestyle. Stress is a natural part of life, but too much of it can wear us down mentally and physically. Discovering a stress relief strategy that works for you, whether it's exercise, reading, meditating, or something else entirely, is crucial.
We have the power to influence how we age and improve our quality of life along the way. It's all about making a conscious effort. You don't have to tackle this journey alone or be an expert in everything. Surrounding yourself with supportive friends, family, and experts in the field can make a significant difference in the short and long term. We all strive to maintain an active lifestyle throughout our lives, and it's never too early or too late to start or continue. Preventative maintenance doesn't have to be complicated or overwhelming; it should seamlessly integrate into your daily life. We all have unique paths of change, so there's no need to follow a one-size-fits-all approach to health and wellness. It should be personalized, tailored, and specific to each individual. Even small changes and little habits can have a tremendous impact. Whether you're just starting or already doing a lot, focusing on one small change at a time is a proven strategy for improvement. And remember, just because the question "is it just because of my age?" may be part of the problem, it doesn't mean it has to affect you as much as it does. Sometimes, all it takes is a few small adjustments to make a big difference.
Greg Hollenbeck PT, DPT, OCS,
SFMA, CF-L1, certified Sportsmetrics Certified Functional Dry Needling L2, PN1-NC