I recently heard about a yoga teacher who had to retire because of ongoing wrist issues. A close friend told me she has given up on push ups because of a painful elbow injury. Another student wants to know why her balance is getting worse and worse even though she keeps stretching and stretching. Her theory? “I’m just getting older and that the way it is.”
I never advocate ‘pushing through pain’. If there is inflammation in a joint it is something you should pay attention to and modify for. But age is not a reliable indicator of ability. There are some 70 year olds who are more healthy than some much younger people.
So what is aging? There are many theories but surprisingly the mechanisms of how we age are not that well understood or agreed upon. We know everything living has a cycle of beginning, middle and end. But what we do has a huge effect on how we age.
No matter how old you are, it is not to late to take care of yourself!
One of the above mentioned students and I talked for a while and I told her honestly that she was hyper-mobile in her hips and she needed to build some strength. I believe most of us should be focused more strength as we get older. We can easily lose muscle mass and that can lead to the dreaded frailty.
I do think you can make strength gains at any age. I am aging too!
Recently I have been slowly and progressively adding more vitamin F (floor!) to my routine and I feel more mobile and strong in my hips and core. I am also working on strength and balance and adding in weights and ball work is making me stronger and more supple than before.
Wrist, shoulder and elbow injuries in yoga are often a result of overuse and repetition. Diversity is beautiful and that certainly applies to your movement diet. That is why we challenge ourselves to new ways of practicing so much in my classes.
Now that you are older – be wiser. Care for your body by challenging it and consistently making it do new things. Start slowly. Be consistent over time. A little bit everyday.
I know you will say you don’t have time but really?
Its your one and only body calling. Don’t put it on hold till its to late.
To me when you start really aging is when you give up, make yourself to comfortable and don’t embrace the possibility of positive change.
There is no better time to make a fresh commitment to taking care of your precious body than now.