As I turn 41 today, I’ve thought a lot about the notorious midlife crisis… and, while I’ll most definitely wanted to go out and buy a Ferrari when I hit the big 4-0 last year – that’s just not gonna happen.
Funny thing, getting old.
Nobody ever really believes it will happen to them, but if you’re hovering close to a big-deal birthday or starting to feel the first “symptoms” of geezerhood, it gets harder and harder to deny. You may take longer to recover, have less energy or even a health problem you’re trying to workaround.
The standard advice for older folk? Take it easy. Do more reps and slow down. Get to bed early. Let the younger guys pack on muscle and tear around, you just take it slow. Join a yoga class. But if you follow this advice you’ll end up being 60 years old and congratulated by your kids for managing to take a 20-minute walk every day. Not cool.
I don’t like to let people get too comfy with their excuses. Does getting older mean you have to watch out a little more closely for injuries? Sure, we’re not monsters. But does it mean you have to slow right down and start preparing yourself to be put out to pasture? Nope!
It’s all about attitude
A youthful body is very forgiving. Kill yourself at the gym and then head straight into an all-night drinking session and an exam in the morning? Sure, you can do it easy. Youth can cover up poor form, bad habits and shitty lifestyle choices. You just spring back.
No such luck for the older body.
But just because you can’t run around like a hooligan anymore doesn’t mean your body is old and broken, it just means you have to actually pay attention now.
N not many of us take the same risks as we did when we were younger, and it’s no different with training. one of us
After all, this is one of the best things about aging: you learn. Now, you have a better idea of who you are, what you want, and what crap you aren’t going to tolerate. You’ve learned how to listen to your body. You make workouts count because you have a real job to get back to.
You don’t just exercise because it’s good for your heart health – you’ve actually had a heart attack scare and keenly appreciate just how precious a thing your health really is.
Instead of bemoaning what you’ve lost (bone density, muscle mass… uh, hair), look at what you’ve gained. You’ve had a longer time to perfect your technique, to know yourself and to develop the most important muscle in your routine: your brain.
Behind every mid-life funk is the fear, “it’s too late for me.” And it’s true – none of us gets to play the game forever. But take your panic at impending old age as a sign that you still have some juice left in you, some unmet challenges.
Don’t go gentle into that good night, man, put on your gym gear and get cracking!
And then go home and start shopping for that Ferrari.