Two choices as you get older – slow down or speed up. Speed up aging or slow it down. Activity or inactivity. Once you act old, you are old, no matter what your true age is. The true difference between old and young is not the date on your birth certificate, it’s what you do and don’t do. Anti-aging is not about covering up, it’s about building-up.
Getting old is relative. I’ve warned my football players about getting old in their 20’s and 30’s due to inactivity. I have personally witnessed perfectly healthy student-athletes act old by missing practices, missing workouts, even missing games for absurd reasons. I’m using football as an example because of the limited life span of a football career. It’s short. A football career is micro-fraction of a person’s life. You have to maximize ever moment, every set, every rep so that you never look back with regret and the ensuing bitterness that follows.
The vast majority of my football players are officially retired from football at the age of 22. That can be traumatic. It can be depressing. Retiring at 22 from anything that you allegedly love has got to be gut-wrenching. Imagine being 22 and knowing you can never go back and do what you love to do, ever again. That’s why football old-age is always a part of my motivational speeches. Don’t’ act like a senior citizen during your playing career. Be energetic. Show vitality. Have a pulse.
This doesn’t apply strictly to football. It applies to any job, any activity. The bad news is that premature aging starts the minute you park your ass on the couch staring at screens for hours. Premature aging sets in when vegetating in front of TVs, video games, and Facebook becomes the primary activity of the day. Or night. The good news is that working out is a career that you never have to retire from. Working out is a lifelong career. It never has to stop. There’s no mandatory retirement age.
I’m 55 and I work out almost every day of my life. I go on workout streaks where I lift, run, and/or hit the speed bag and heavy bag at the minimum of 50 days in a row. Why? To prevent my adrenal gland from shutting off forever. That’s one of my greatest fears – a slow-drip adrenal gland and never feeling the rush of any kind ever again. The thought of leading a sedentary life and never, ever feeling a pump is a nightmare. Five months ago, I took 2 consecutive days off of all exercise after 102 days of working out in a row only because of self-pity. I read an article about adrenal fatigue on a mindless Facebook news feed that turned me into a hypochondriac for about 48 hours until I came to my senses. I was perfectly healthy. The two consecutive days off was the first 48-hour absence from the gym in 3 years. I almost lost my mind. My mind started playing games. I started believing I was ready for cardigans and 15% discounts. The fear I experienced was horrifying. It hasn’t happened again.
I thank God Almighty for blessing us with the whole concept of working out. Working out is the way out of premature aging. Working out is the way out of feeling old before you’re old.
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