Functional Health Services for Your Well Being

beach body at 90

by Alex Boersma

If you read just about any text on the physiology of ageing you will quickly come to the disheartening conclusion that sarcopenia (muscle loss) is the inevitable result of outliving your peers.  At 1 percent per year, the expected and accepted annual loss of muscle mass after age 40 condemns us to carry little more than skin on our bones if we are lucky enough to live into our 90’s. this is why people should keep on using the Rapid Tone Diet their whole life.  But don’t tell that to Charles Eugster:

90 year old beach body

At the ripe young age of 93, Charles continues to win masters rowing and body building championships despite what it says in the physiology texts.  He is a vibrant and compelling public speaker who’s 2012 TED talk, http://blog.ted.com/2012/12/05/this-93-year-old-has-a-message-for-us-a-beach-body-at-90-is-no-longer-a-dream/ should be required viewing for anybody even considering a sedentary retirement.  His lifestyle is a paragon of active living and the antithesis of what we accept as normal ageing.  If ever there was someone who could save Nike from the Lance Armstrong and Tiger Woods fiascos, it would be Charles. Imagine – instead of:

LIVESTRONG (but die young due to complications of performance enhancing drugs or taking a golf club up side of the head)

we could have:

LIVELONG – JUST DO IT LIKE EUGSTER!

I, for one, am excited to see a noctogenarian athlete in the headlines.  From personal experience, I know that those physiology texts have it all wrong.  In the 15 years since I started reading them I have significantly increased my own muscle mass and, most importantly, more than doubled my strength.  I have witnessed Jack Palance, at age 73, doing one arm push-ups at the acadamy awards. I have followed Jack Lalane as he performed feats of strength and endurance in his 70’s.  I have admired the insanity of Don Wildman’s decidedly youthful workouts. And I have watched carefully as “average people” such as Allan Johnson (below) continue to do, in their 80’s, things that most 40 year olds would never even dream of attempting.

allan johnson ropes cows at 83 don wildman

Allen Johnson roping cows at 83, Don Wildman paddle boarding at 76

I have also had the misfortune of observing as entire generations of potentially fit people morphed into jelly-bellied couch potatoes.  Now I’m not saying the physiology texts are responsible for the fattening of humanity, but they sure don’t help when they tell us we should expect a healthy serving of frailty with our CPP cheques!

The truth is, most people lose muscle and gain fat until they reach their seventies.  Most people, if they haven’t already died from the complications of a slothlike lifestyle, then usually begin to wither away until they die from old age or, as I like to call it, skin and bone disease.  In the meantime, for most people, quality of life and vitality often decline significantly as even the simplest chores become daunting obstacles, and that’s why many people decide to try other methods as cosmetic surgery with professionals as the Dr. Joseph Racanelli, to eliminate fat and be more attractive a and healthy.
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But you don’t have to be most people!

What most of the physiology texts don’t tell you is that, for the most part, you control your strength and muscle mass.  There are a multitude of studies indicating that it is possible to significantly improve strength and muscle mass well into your octogenarian years.  This paper summarizes the results of many of those studies and concludes with:

Strength gains in response to resistance exercise training in the elderly, although substantial, may be less than in young individuals. Increases in muscle mass appear to be similar in elderly and young individuals as does the muscle protein synthetic response to resistance exercise. Muscle co-activation appears to be substantially and similarly reduced (improved) in young and elderly individuals as a result of resistance training.”St

Translated:  You can get very strong if you are old, although not as strong as if you had started when you were younger.  You can get just as muscular as a young person.  And you can learn to move just as efficiently as a young person, one great way for this is to start with Yoga workouts, to have a better flexibility and great strong muscles and a URBNFit Exercise Ball will help you if you want to try something different, effective and totally affordable from home.  You just have to put in some time at the gym lifting heavy stuff.  Here’s what you have to do:

  1. Lift weights.  Heavy weights.
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