3 Movement Myths for the Ageing Body
In this article Anne Noonan discusses why slowing down in later life is one of the worst things we can do for healthy ageing.
I was chatting to a young, freshly graduated yoga teacher who had completed one of my classes for ‘the magnificently mature’. Her innocently intended comments were ‘in our training we divide people up with younger ones in the more advanced training and older ones in slower more meditative classes’. I saw red. My response was ‘well that’s just the wrong attitude right there lady!’
We’re living with the belief that age means slowing down and sliding downwards into the next phase. My mission is to change that attitude.
I disagree with most of the exercise myths out there including that young ladies attitude toward older Australians.
Myth #1. The 50+ body needs to do slow movement.
Slow movement certainly has it’s advantages but there’s slow and there’s mindfully powerful that isn’t fast. In the book ‘Younger Next Year for Women’ the authors suggest heavy duty cycling including spin classes, hiking and high intensity interval training for their ageing readers. I suggest a mix of strong yoga classes, plenty of stretch, power walking and bouncing on a rebounder. When the older body starts to ‘slow down’ then the aches, pains and typical symptoms of age take over.
One of my favourite books for the ageing body is ‘The New Yoga for people over 50’. Her models in the book are 80+ and obviously powerful, flexible, fit women. If you don’t believe the ageing myths then age becomes a wonderful adventure.
Myth #2 Older Australians lose muscle and become weaker.
Illness and lack of use is responsible for muscle wastage. It’s the old adage – use it or lose it. Our natural Human Growth Hormone can slow down IF we allow it to. Keep working on that muscle development and moving and we won’t become weaker.
Myth #3 It’s dangerous for older bodies to move too much.
It certainly is dangerous if we’re not mindful of the kind of movement we do. If frailty is allowed to seep into the body – and frailty is a choice – then it could be dangerous to overdo exercise. Mindfulness is one of the most integral parts of moving with an ageing body. Be aware of where your body is at right now, start from that point, whether you’re 50 or 80 and make a progressive plan to increase strength, flexibility and muscle tone. Then age well.