Why did I write "Train to Age"?
Welcome to the first Train to Age blog! My book covers a lot of territory, but there is more and more new information out there all the time. So, we will explore many different topics on aging and fitness. But, let's start at the beginning.
Why did I write "Train To Age"? For me, the reason was simple. I had garnered information about aging that I believed should be common knowledge, and it wasn't.
That's the reason in a nutshell. I still don't understand why keeping active agers strong and healthy isn't an entire medical field. Fixing us when we're broken is the focus, so I wrote the book. Let's start at the beginning.
I was fifty-eight and out of shape when I started working with a trainer. Why did I start? I wanted to learn to pick up heavy things. There is more to that story but know that I had found a reason to go to the gym and get strong.
After a few months of working out, I saw significant changes in how I felt. After training for a year, I moved better, felt better, and could do all the things at sixty that I'd struggled with at fifty-eight. Now I wanted to understand how that happens. Being a nerd, I started to research aging. And was I surprised at all the information I didn't have? No one ever told me that you lose strength as you age because you lose muscle mass. Nobody told me how valuable strength training was to my overall success as an active ager. I knew nothing about the changes to our bodies as we age. I also knew nothing about the actions we could take to slow down those changes and minimize their impact. This lack of information just seemed wrong to me.
That, my friends, is how "Train to Age" was born. I saw a lot of the " all you need to do" type of advertisements. All you need to do is walk, or swim or work out for just 10 minutes a day, and you would age gracefully. My experience was telling me that it wasn't that simple. At least it wasn't for me. Strength training became the first dimension of my training philosophy.
I was at the gym at least four days a week and worked out about an hour or so per visit. What I was seeing at first were strength gains. Working mobility came in later. I've never been good at doing mobility work, and I felt ridiculous whenever I tried Yoga. No one will ever describe me as graceful! But, I had to start somewhere because I was getting stiff with all the resistance training. I was walking around looking like a gorilla. Hence, mobility got added as the second dimension of my philosophy.
Speedwork came next. When I deadlifted, my trainer would tell me to "explode off the floor!" I told him that my exploding days were over. But, his comments led me to try to understand why I was so slow. What did I find out? You get slower as you age because you lose a disproportionate amount of the muscle fiber that allows you to move quickly. Well, darn, that's not good. Now power became part of the equation. Moving any weight like a barbell or bodyweight requires power. What's power? It's simply strength times speed. I was building the strength, and now I needed to add speed.
Stability was next. Walking lunges were hard, and I felt like I would topple over sideways with every step. When I researched the subject of balance, I found that we can have stability issues for many reasons, many of which you can't fix with exercise. You can, however, build leg and core strength to minimize the impact of balance issues, and we have dimension number 4.
Endurance was the last piece of the puzzle. I have never been a swimmer, runner, or cyclist. I wore out quickly and didn't like that. Years of inactivity had left me with very little stamina. I added endurance to my list, and that's how "Train to Age" and the five dimensions of aging were born.
If I can do this, anybody can. The five dimensions of aging are strength, power, stability, mobility, and endurance. And that's how the book came to be. The information is too important not to share, at least I think it is.
So there's the story. "Train to Age" isn't just a catchy title. It's a way to take some control over how we age and how we spend the last third of our lives. It's information I believe everyone should have. I hope you will take this journey with me and learn about taking steps to maintain your independence and quality of life and live fully as you age.