A lot of people give up on their fitness later in life, thinking it is too late or the effort is futile. Ageless Strength: Strong and Fit for a Lifetime author Jeff Horowitz debunks two myths that have dominated the fitness culture for generations.
MYTH #1: Exercise may cause strain or injury as you age, so it is better to be cautious and take fewer chances with your body.
Truth: Following this path leads to the exact opposite result. Instead of being safer and healthier by avoiding exercise, older people become less fit and more at risk for injury and disease. Their lifestyle then yields a self-fulfilling prophecy: They slow down because they think they should, given their age, and then their bodies lose fitness and slow down too.
Instead, they should ramp up their activity. They might need to be smarter about what they do—that’s what this book is all about—but middle age shouldn’t mark the end of challenging activity. It should instead mark the start of the next chapter. In fact, rather than being a time of declining fitness, our mature years can be a time for improvement.
MYTH #2: Your body’s fitness peaks in your 20s, so you will never be as strong or fit as you were then.
Truth: Most people don’t come close to their potential fitness. This is particularly true earlier in life, when the temptations of junk food and alcohol, combined with a lack of knowledge about healthy choices, can leave many people well below their ideal fitness levels.
If your potential fitness is the theoretical upper limit of your strength and fitness, there is a gap between your potential and actual fitness throughout your life. You can reduce that gap at any age. Your fitness can improve at every age.