USE IT OR LOSE IT
Posted: April 21, 2008
As I look around, I find that people seem to fall into two different categories: those that can move and those that can’t. The difference between them also seems to become more pronounced the older they get.
In their 30’s and 40’s, you start to see it. People are less and less active and have more and more aches and pains. Often, a condition has become chronic and they’re dealing with it. Many times, they’ve had to limit activities, and it really starts to slow them down.
It gets really obvious with people in their 50’s and 60’s, however. In many cases, all activity has ceased except for basic walking and standing, and often times, those are difficult.
I think the differences are most pronounced with people in their 70’s and 80’s. At this point, you’re either up and moving around, or you’re not.
Come to think about it, it’s pretty common to see skids and teenagers having a hard time moving these days. Youth obesity is rampant—just go to the mall and watch for awhile. What kind of future do they have, even as early as their 20’s?
And this isn’t the way it was supposed to be. If you look at the human body, we’re fearfully and wonderfully made. We’re made to move and specially designed. When healthy, we can walk and run, bend and lift, turn and throw things.
Just watch a one or two year old. They can squat down and stay that way. Pick their feet up and stick them in their mouth (try that in your 40’s). They not only can run, they want to run—everywhere. That’s how I want to be (except the feet thing).
I know a guy in his 60’s who’s a national champion in running. He can get there in a hurry. Is he just a fluke? Or has he worked at it.
My dad will be 85. Sure, he’s moving slower than he used to, but he can bend down and pick something up if you drop it—before you can. He never misses his workout. If he does, he makes it up—two in one day!
Somewhere along the line, many of us quit moving, and that’s where the downward spiral begins. The old saying is true. Use it or lose it.
If you don’t make a point to staying active, at some point, you’ll lose muscle tone. You’ll get weaker. Your bones will weaken. Ultimately, your metabolism will slow. You’ll put on fat.
At some point, you’ll do even less because it’s harder than it used to be. Finally, even going up and down stairs will get difficult. Reaching up into cupboards above your head will be harder. Forget picking up your grandkids, you won’t even be able to get into the car to go see them.
I know this sounds harsh, but it’s true. And it’s so unnecessary. Studies show that people in their 80’s can increase strength and muscle tone in as little as 6 weeks! We had a 67 year old come in 2nd place in the last Biggest Loser “3”. He lost 52.5 lbs and signed up for the next one!
I see people in their 50’s, 60’s and 70’s working out every day—they do it not because they want to (although many enjoy it)—they do it because they know they have to.
Look, I know there are things you can’t control, like genetics, and accidents, and even many illnesses. They just come on and you have to deal with it. But it’s funny how some people can still keep moving, even through adversity, if they want to.
There’s a lot of evidence that what we eat might keep many illnesses at bay. Fruits and greens are believed to give us a measure of immunity against illness and disease.
Other foods with protein help us improve strength and muscle tone. Still other foods like quality whole grains and other good starches (in moderation) Give us the energy we need to get through your day.
But most of us don’t even come close to eating the way we should. We eat too many things we shouldn’t, and not enough things that we should eat.
It’s clear that regular exercise can help prevent heart disease, diabetes, onset or worsening of osteoporosis. But still, many of us don’t do that either. We’re too busy and don’t have time for it. It’s inconvenient and messy. It’s too hard.
What’s hard is not being able to do the things you want to do. Being in a constant state of decline, where little by little, you feel things slipping away.
How do you want to live the next 10 years, or 20 or more? How do you want to live this year? We have a record 65 signed up to take on the 12 week challenge in our “Biggest Loser 4” starting next week.
These are people that want to change the way they feel. They want to change the way they feel about themselves, too. Of course, they also want to change the way they look.
I really admire them. It takes courage to face things. To admit you need to change. It takes even more courage to take action and do something about it. It takes courage, knowing things are going to change, and it won’t be easy.
But think about how things could be—how they will be—once you get started on that new journey. You can have your life back. You can be what you were really designed to be, and do what you were designed to do.
You are unique and special with a unique and special job to do. Nothing feels better than knowing you’re right where you need to be, doing right what you’re supposed to be doing. That’s pretty hard to do when your joints ache and your back hurts cause you’re carrying too much weight around.
God has given us a unique chance to be the story in our own book. The pages haven’t all been written yet, and guess what—you hold the pen in your hands. That’s right—you. What are you going to do about it?