We Are All Old People in Training, So Train Wisely with These 5 Everyday Activities

“Becoming an Old Person in Training makes it easier
to think critically about what age means in this society and the forces at work
behind depictions of older people as useless and pathetic.” —Ashton Applewhite

most people talk about aging, they portray it as decline, holding onto this
misguided belief while the best years pass them by. Sadly, the anti-aging
message is pervasive in our society, and the increasing rates of social isolation among older adults speak
volumes about our views on aging.

what if, instead, we looked at aging as a time of growth? How drastically does
that change this image?

isn’t something specific about aging that causes a state of decline. Your beliefs are what cause change with age.
Nothing more.

telling ourselves we’ve gotten “too old to…” we initiate the
process of decline. If we’d just admit that yes, we are getting older, embrace
this fact, and view aging as an opportunity for further growth, we’d all be much better off.

my years as a physical therapist focused on empowering the aging process, I’ve
compiled a list of skills that older adults who age well have in common.
Practice these daily and you too can train wisely for your later years.

order to age well, you need to continue to live the life you want to live when
you’re older, day in and day out. No excuses. Start with the list below if you
want to take control of your aging today.

Get On and Off the Floor Daily

the floor skill will put you leaps and bounds ahead of most of the aging
population. In the clinic, I’ve heard countless times (even from people as
young as 40) that they’re “too old to be getting on and off the floor.”

belief is a detriment to your future health. Research has
found that the inability to get on and off the floor without using your hands
is linked to a higher risk of early death. You read that right.

So, get yourself on the floor and start practicing right now. Start floor sitting as often as the opportunity arises. And when you start to do this in the presence of others, you’ll discover what an unconventional choice this is.

I’m with a group of people, and I opt for the floor instead of an open chair,
there are always comments. But remember, people tend to judge based on their
own insecurities. Stick to your principles and be okay with being different.
Being different is the key to aging well.

Practice Balance Daily and Make It Fun

hear that balance declines with age, but this has more to do with the behaviors
we adopt as we age instead of aging itself. By definition,
anything we don’t practice daily will be in a state of decline regardless of
age. So, when was the last time you went out of your way to challenge your

balance daily
can and should be a lot of fun! Start by
exploring your balance comfort zone. Make note of the surfaces you tend to walk
on, whether or not you’re comfortable standing on one foot, etc. The possibilities
are endless.

once you find your limits, challenge yourself to push past those boundaries
every day.

Reach Your Arms Up Overhead Every Day, as Often as You Can

shoulder joints have a wide range of motion. As humans in modern life, we use
our shoulders much less often than we used to. The shoulder is a big mover and
a complex joint surrounded by a lot of muscles.

of the shoulder joint is also key to our lymphatic system and blood
circulation. An astounding number of older adults lose the ability to lift
their arms up past shoulder height simply due to underuse.

keep this skill by practicing daily. Just as mentioned above, start by noticing
your normal habits. You might be surprised at how many times throughout your
day you intentionally avoid lifting your arms up.

notice how quickly your shoulders get tired when you do this. Then start to
incorporate more shoulder range in your daily activities. This could be as
simple as hanging your clothes on a clothesline or slowly putting dishes away
in an overhead cupboard.

Start Crawling and Hanging from Trees

and tree pull-ups? These are the most unconventional suggestions on this list
by far but are vital to the health, strength, and function of your upper body.

as healthy shoulder joints should have a large range of motion, they should
also be strong enough to allow you to hang from a tree and do a pull-up.

fact, your shoulder joint won’t have fully developed strength until you can
perform these tasks. But due to our modern environment, most of us haven’t
performed either of these activities for a very long time, so we are likely to
injure ourselves if we try.

with crawling to practice loading your shoulder joints. This is also a great
way to strengthen your core and prevent osteoporosis of the wrists. As you
start to gain stability in your shoulder joints with crawling, start to explore
hanging from your hands.

Laugh, Find Others to Move with, and Make It a Game

last but not least, one of the most important ways you can train well for aging
is to find a group of people you enjoy being with and laugh every day.

others with similar interests and habits to keep yourself around like-minded
individuals. Make a habit out of being spontaneous and enjoying yourself. Take
walks with your family or groups of friends.

find books, podcasts, blogs – any resource with positive aging voices – to be
part of your community as well. Social isolation is actually considered a risk
factor for frailty in older adults and earlier risk of death. Combat isolation
by continuing to expose yourself to new experiences and people.

are just a few suggestions to become an older adult in training, but the
possibilities are endless. Continue to live your life as you want to live it as
you age, day in and day out. No excuses.

can you get started training well today? Which of the above suggestions do you
do every day? Which of them have you not done for quite some time? Are you
willing to start training for old age? Please share your thoughts with our
community and let’s age well together!