Too Old For Training?

I want to tell you a quick story.

My grandfather liked to have a drink…He smoked filterless ‘player’ cigarettes all his life and spent more than a few of his evenings drinking in the ‘Sheaf O’Wheat’ pub in Coolock.

The thing was, he was in perfect health until he turned 70 and then contracted a rare infection called Gillian Barres syndrome – a disease that attacks your nervous system causing paralysis and, at his age, he was not expected to recover.

Long story short, after 2 years of rehab, he did recover and lived another 10 years until the cigarettes got him.

The reason he recovered was that he was strong. He worked on building sites with my father AFTER he retired from a job in the Cadbury factory and he was very good at it. Taking up a job in construction AFTER 30 years in Cadburys… Hero.

My grandmother, on the other hand, was relatively inactive and, shortly after my grandfather fell ill with his condition, she simply slipped off her chair and broke her hip. One thing led to another and she died…Essentially from a broken hip.

How unfortunate and crazy is that? If I was a little bit older I would have made her do some training and that could have been avoided… It sucks, but it’s true… And you know what? At 70 years old… She wouldn’t have been too old to ‘train’ and he might have fallen off that chair and got back up with nothing more than a bruise…

What has this got to do with you?

To be blunt, training may be the thing that prevents you from dying early and/or living the last decade or more of your life in a state of morbidity, relying on your loved ones to support you in an almost helpless and/or weakened state.

Exercise has literally been PROVEN to be the elixir for a good quality of life.

Even better and more relevant to this story is the new pressing evidence that leg strength ….yes, leg strength has recently been more strongly correlated with longevity more than any other factor.

Also, increased leg strength is negatively correlated with what’s called ‘all-cause mortality’.

So basically, having strong legs makes you live longer and have a better quality of life. Convinced?

Not only does having strong leg/hip muscles make you less likely to fall over and hurt yourself, but it also shapes and strengthens your bones, applying forces which press, pull and twist the skeleton as we move.

This, along with small impacts help improve your bone mineral density and reduce the risk of fractures and breaks later in life.

The jury is out on whether training actually builds bone up, to an appreciable extent anyway, but it definitely prevents them from becoming brittle.

Bones experience huge forces during movement. That might seem bad but the adaptations are what make the bones, muscular attachments and joints stronger.

As a result, bones also experience huge impact and muscle force during daily tasks, totalling more than five times body weight even during walking.

The bone senses these small changes, and can grow dramatically in strength, in the months after starting exercise, and reduce the risk of breaking.

Don’t panic, you don’t have to leap around the gym to elicit these changes and reap the benefit of these adaptations.

It’s simple, go for a walk, take the stairs, do anything that is just a little stressful to the body to force it to adapt. As mentioned above, any impact or stressor on the body makes the structures adapt and get stronger. This will maintain your bone and muscle strength.

If you haven’t been active for a long period of time, that’s fine…to an extent.

If you were active when you were younger/before you had kids/ before you got married/before you started a busy career, that is a good thing. The adaptations stick around for years to some extent, but as the old saying goes – “if you don’t use it, you lose it.”

You need to do something to keep it in the long term. If you don’t, you are at risk of losing those strengths you developed when you were younger and, thus, allowing your body to deteriorate and end up, for want of a better phrase, getting old.

Yes, getting old is unavoidable, but it can be delayed and exercise is the way to delay it.

Without sounding biased or a little self-serving, it is what we do on a daily basis.

The general idea amongst people that don’t train or do personal training or fitness classes already is that ’training’ is for young people.

That just isn’t the case. The average age in our personal training and fitness classes is mid-forties. I.e. We have people from their early twenties to mid-sixties training with us every day and reaping the benefits.

Yes, young people train with us and that’s great, this mail is not for them. I’m talking to the thousands of people who are 40, 50, 60 or whatever, who are on my email list. You too can and should be training with us and improving your quality of life.

If this sounds like a plan and you want to have a chat with one of us about it. Give us a shout and we will sort you out with a plan.


Bryan Kavanagh BSc. CSCS


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