How to avoid disability as you age

If you can’t get off the ground without your hands there’s a very high probability you’ll become disabled as you age but don’t worry, this newsletter is going to explain how to avoid this issue. 

The most important thing I want to get across today is your body responds to the environment you put it in. 

Here are 4 reasons people end up disabled (or dead) as they age (and how to avoid this).

  • Reason #1 – Not training consistently. 
  • Reason #2 – Slow recovery time from injury. 
  • Reason #3 – Not working on mobility exercises.
  • Reason #4 – 1% loss of muscle mass/year after 50. 

If you’ve been in chairs since childhood and have stopped getting off the ground, your joints will become stiff and weak regardless of your age.

This is what blew my mind when I lived in Asia for 2 years in my mid 20s. I saw myself as a fit guy who was a coach yet, sitting on the ground or using the squat toilet was impossible for me. 

During a month long yoga teacher training in Mysore, India I remember the frustration and pain in my knees and lower back each day. 

It didn’t matter the age of the locals, they weren’t “too old” to sit on the ground, squat or move with grace. It was normal for them because it’s what they have done their whole lives. 

It’s normal in asia to squat into your 80s

If you’re in a western country and everyone around you is limited with their movement and overweight, it’s easy to start believing this is natural. But what’s normal and what’s natural are very different. 

At the end of my two year stint in Asia I could sit on the ground with ease for 45-60 mins, use the squat toilets (which are way better than western ones IMO).

Anytime I go to yoga sessions or meditation classes in Ireland I also get asked about my ease of sitting on the ground. It’s simple, I’ve repeated it daily for over 10 years now. 

These tips will help you improve your lower body mobility  and strength so you can stay strong, independent and pain-free as you age. 

#1: Improve speed of recovery

Some reports show that up to 50% of patients 65+ with hip fractures die within six months and many of those who survive do not recover their baseline independence and function. 

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26016287/

This above statement is crazy and hard to believe but it’s true.

The ranges seem to be 20% death within 1 year up to 50% death within 6 months of the hip fracture depending on the study.

When you haven’t exercised in years, your risk of falls increases dramatically after 60.

These falls can result in hip fractures which can take 6 months to recover from.

But something as serious as a hip fracture results in losing independence, confidence in your body and social isolation.

You can see how these issues compound and result in such a correlation with death within a year of this happening.

Here’s a routine my 70 year client Kaye is demonstrating to avoid becoming a nasty statistic.

#2: Work on the movements you want to improve

If you can’t get off the ground with ease, it doesn’t matter what age you are. You can improve this ability by improving your mobility.

If you ankles, knees, hips and spine are more mobile, movement will become easier. The most important thing is to start a consistent practice, like the routine I shared above, or get help from a coach.

You can book in here to get a customised program designed specifically for you. 

#3: Start building and retaining lean muscle mass.

After 50, you lose 1% muscle mass a year and 3% power production. So if you don’t exercise, you will become weak, frail and dependent on others. Just look around and see the amount of older people needing mobility scooters or walkers. 

This graph shows the impact loss of  muscle on individuals who manage to stay out of the disability threshold as they age. 

Muscle is normally associated with body building but muscle mass decreases all-cause mortality. It’s a life extension tool that you should strive for. Not only will you stay independent, your risk of chronic diseases will be lower too. (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0002934314001387)

#4: Start moving consistently 

Your body responds to what you do with it. If you sit all day, it gets weak and brittle. If you start a daily movement practice, you will start building a supple, mobile body over time. 

You cannot cheat a fit, strong, capable body. You get it from putting daily investments into your movement bank.

In fact just 1 hour a week is enough (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30376511/).

This is your wake up call

I don’t want this article to scare you but I do want it to shock you into action. 

Today you have a choice, continue on the road towards dependence on others, or take control of your own health. 

It’s just 1 hour a week of an investment to literally save your life and give you years of healthspan moving forwards. 

If you want help with making this happen, book a call here. 

Wrap up

There are lots of coaches and physical therapists who scoff at the test to get off the ground and deem it silly and something to ignore. 

But why wouldn’t you want to have the basic capacity of getting off the ground?

It’s all upside. You will feel stronger, more mobile and maintain independence into your later years which I think most people would want. 

These tips will help you avoid the most common issues that plague the western world.

The major underlying causes of physical disability are chronic diseases, including both acute events, such as hip fracture and stroke and slowly progressive diseases such as arthritis and heart disease. 

From this study: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3868456/

Squatting is universal regardless of where you’re from, it just takes practice

And it doesn’t matter where you are from. Even if you’ve got stiff Celtic hips and shoulders like I did, you can improve your situation. Squatting and mobility is something everyone can improve and it will make all of life’s tasks easier. 

Ps. I’m putting together a coaching group where I’m going to work privately with a handful of people on longevity protocols so they lose weight, boost their energy, and get in shape by the summertime.

Would you like to work with me?

If that’s you then fill in this form to get started.