The diet and exercise industry is a good reflection of society in general. Society focuses on, and rewards, an aesthetically pleasing body rather than a functional body.
For years the fitness industry (and all of its many offshoots) has focused on how to look good and lose weight. It promotes bodies that are tight, toned and tanned, rather than promoting feeling good, reducing pain and increasing activity levels; issues that are important to most of us throughout our daily lives.
Most exercise and diet industry marketing and advertising uses young models who hit the genetic lottery and are in great shape. They want to trick us into thinking that if we use their products, then anyone can look like a genetically lucky 18 year old who gets paid to exercise all day long.
They trick us by telling us that anyone can do their workout, and if you do their workout, then you’ll look like a ripped, toned, tanned, genetically lucky 18 year old.
This is just not true.
It is the same with being a professional athlete. In order to be a professional athlete you have to work hard and train hard. You also have to be lucky and avoid injuries as your career progresses. But you also have to have good genes. You have to be genetically lucky. Most professional athletes have won the genetic lottery. They have capitalized on their god given skills, and without hard work they would not make it as a professional. But they would not make it to the professional ranks without good genetics.
For most of us, no matter how hard we work, we won’t be able to be a professional athlete. This is because we don’t have the right genes, or the proper genetic makeup, to be a professional athlete.
My father, who worked with professional athletes for years, said that some people just have good parts.
In the same way, not everyone has the genetic makeup, or intelligence, to be a professor at a university. No matter how much they study.
The diet, exercise, fitness, health industries all know that if they say that their product will give you ripped 6 pack abs and muscles of steel, many people will try it. People that have no business trying these products will try them. People are desperate to lose weight and to get into shape and to reduce pain. They just don’t know how to go about getting into shape. That is why they will listen to anything that says it can get them into shape. These industries take advantage of, and prey on, that desperation.
There are always exceptions to the rules, and those exceptions usually have good genes to start with. But for the most part, if you are in 40’s or older, haven’t exercised in over 5 years, are overweight, are out of shape, have arthritis, and or have any other metabolic disease associated with chronic abuse of the body (heart disease, type 2 diabetes, etc), then chances are that if you don’t already have 6 pack abs, then you’re not going to get them. If you haven’t had 6 pack abs up until this point in your life, then chances are you will not be able to achieve them through healthy means, for the rest of your life.
In the same vein, if any of those above descriptions pertain to you, then chances are you are not going to be a professional athlete in the future. Sorry to break the news to you.
And that is fine. Who cares if you never get 6 pack abs again? Who cares if you’re never going to look like a movie star walking down a red carpet? It is more important to feel good and to be able to walk, and be able to have a longer, more active, less painful life.
So if you’re not going to be professional athlete, and not going to be able to get a ripped, toned, tanned physique with 6 pack abs like the 18 year old genetically lucky models we are surrounded by, then why exercise and watch what we eat?
Exercising and healthy eating is the only fountain of youth that we have. It is the best, and only way, to slow down the aging process, and to have as little pain as possible while aging gracefully.
Healthy eating will help to prevent cancer. It will decrease systemic, low grade inflammation that can irritate and exacerbate most medical conditions and most types of pain.
Proper exercise will help to keep joints healthy and stable throughout your life, giving you a lifetime of mobility without becoming disabled and having to rely on others to get around.
The trick is to do the right kind of exercising. If you perform high intensity, high impact exercises with heavy weights, you will end up injuring yourself. You will injure yourself with more frequency, and with more severity, then if you were to perform low intensity and low impact exercises with light weights.
The older you get, the longer it takes to recover from those minor, and not so minor injuries. The longer you are injured, the less time you will be exercising and taking care of yourself.
Proper stretching will keep joints and muscles mobile and moving. A good stretching regimen will maintain range of motion as you age. A research study published in the New York Times concluded that the most common cause of falling in those over age 65 is from a lack of hip mobility. Proper stretching will keep you moving for years.
My uncle Mort lived into his early 90’s. He used to say that the older he got, the harder the ground got. Those falls 10 years ago that didn’t hurt too badly now can cause a broken hip or worse.
Exercise and healthy eating shouldn’t be just about how you look or how much you can bench press. It doesn’t have to be focused on being competitive and trying to do more push ups then your partner does. It doesn’t have to be about getting so sore after a workout that you can’t get out of bed the next day.
As we age, our bodies can’t handle that intensity anymore. Sure, we are still viable and competitive, but we don’t recover as well as what we used to. So if we are entering into a new exercise routine without having exercised in years, and with pre-existing medical conditions and pain, then it makes sense to start out very easy with exercise.
The world is not easy on our bodies. Life is not easy on our bodies. The wear and tear from life has a way of building up over time making it harder to recover from injuries that in the past wouldn’t have affected us at all.
That is why we have to be easy on our bodies, especially as we age. If you can get into the right, easy on your body exercise program, and the right easy on your lifestyle eating program, then you can slowly and steadily get into shape, get stronger, improve balance, increase endurance, and reduce pain.
You may not look like a movie star, but you can feel like one, and live a longer, happier and healthier life for it. That is the Pain Free Way.