Movement in Old Age: Ageism in Society

Written by on September 16, 2019

As we age there are many changes that start taking place in the body. Our hair changes colour and we have hair dyes for it. Our skin gets wrinkled and we have a whole host of solutions for that too, right from creams to botox injections.

However, one of the most significant changes is a phenomenon known as sarcopenia. And there is no magic pill for this!

Sarcopenia is muscle loss due to aging. It is not a disease but affects everyone. The scary thing is that it starts from the ripe old age of 30. Yes, you heard me right, from 30 years onwards we start losing muscle at an alarming rate.

If you are not exercising and actively building muscle, you could be losing muscle at a rate of more than 5% a decade. Who knew that we actually lose muscle like this.

So for all those of you above 30, I strongly suggest taking an active interest in building muscles for the future. Start by doing some bodyweight exercises and then move to using weights.

This piece is for everyone you know is 60 years and older. If you aren’t 60 years old yet, don’t stop reading share this with your parents or favourite uncles and aunts.

The most obvious sign of sarcopenia is the loss of strength. The inability to put a bag in the overhead carrier of an aircraft. Not being able to open a jam jar. Difficulty in moving furniture.

We mistake this form of weakness as “old age”, something that is outside your control. The fact is that being weak is not your destiny, it’s your choice.

Another obvious effect of sarcopenia is the loss of endurance and stamina. Think climbing upstairs or a hill. Standing for long periods of time or going for a long walk. Holding a bag and walking with it.

One less obvious effect of sarcopenia is feeling cold easily. Muscles are where a bulk of the body heat is generated. So with a steady decline of muscle your body’s ability to produce heat greatly reduces. Your body’s metabolism starts to slow down because muscles are metabolic tissue.

But by far the scariest effect of sarcopenia is the inability to control our bodies. By the age of 75, if you are not exercising regularly, the weakness sets in. You are unable to sit and get off the floor. Climbing downstairs becomes hard. But worst of all the chances of falling down increases.

This article is not meant to scare you, it is meant to wake you up. You nor your loved ones should ever fall into the trap of saying, it is because of old age. I want to see all of us growing old stronger and stronger.

So today’s habit is for all of you 60 years and older who find it hard to move around. Every morning I want you to sit down on the floor and get up off the floor 10 times. 5 using the right foot, 5 using the left foot. If something hurts, use a support to help yourself up. Don’t continue if there is pain.

Next, I want you to hold something heavy in your hand to work on your grip strength. Something heavy enough to get you tired in 3 or 4 minutes. Grip strength is another very important sign of aging. Ideally, I would like you to hang from a bar even if it is for a few seconds. My father who is 70 started at 0 seconds and is now up to 15 seconds of hanging. It takes time and patience.

The last exercise is to squat down as we would if we had to poop in the jungle. I call this the potty squat. Most of us can do this. So the best way is to hold on to something and slowly start lowering yourself into position. If you get tired. Stand up and do this again. Do this twice every morning.

Just these 3 simple habits will start the process of making a difference in your life. When they become easy, add some bodyweight squats and pushups. Keep progressing. Keep getting stronger as you age.

Make today the weakest day of your life…Tomorrow you grow stronger!

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