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I'm too old for this sh....stuff.

The last year and a half has been a whirlwind in my life. Business, baby, buying a house, selling a house, growing into my thirties. It’s made me think a lot about life and a lot about getting older.

I’ve felt the hustle of life creep in and have experienced the scarcity of free time. I’ve had less time to sleep and workout than ever before.

I know that many other parents and adults feel the same and that’s why I think that answering this question is important.

Why do most people feel like garbage as they age?

What if I told you that we don’t have to feel this way?

Now let’s be clinical for a moment. We have to recognize that there are substantial physiologic changes that occur with aging. I’m not writing to convince you that you can win the Olympic 100m hurdles at age 80. .

However, our bodies are incredibly resilient and can accomplish incredible feats well into our late years .Why is this not the norm in our culture?

Let’s talk about 5 reasons why you feel terrible as you age.

1. You’ve been “pre-framed” to believe that you SHOULD feel bad

Pre-framing is a sales psychology approach in which you tell a customer what other customers typically do. By “pre-framing” you make your customer more likely to follow what others do and increase your chance at a larger sale.

“Most of our customers who buy XYZ also purchase ABC and absolutely love it!” The customer thinks to themselves, “if this is what MOST people do then it must be the best way”.

In a similar way our culture “pre-frames” aging for us. How many times have you heard family members or friends bust out the “Just wait until you’re my age”? How many group chats are you in with friends complaining about their bad back and chalking it up to aging. “Back when I was younger I used to do XYZ, but now I’m too old”.

A portion of why you feel like trash is because throughout your life you’ve already been SOLD the idea that you should feel bad as you age. You’ve been pre-framed and you didn’t even know it.

2. Fitness is not a priority in your life

Sometimes the truth hurts but you have to say it anyway. Life gets busy and often the first thing to go is time dedicated to physical fitness. We hide behind excuses of work or kids but in reality this is a personal choice.

In the short term perhaps this choice has little noticeable effect. However, what happens when you haven’t undergone any physical training in 10, 20, 30 years? What happens when you haven’t invested ANY time or effort in combating father time?

You end up with decreased cardiovascular endurance and muscular strength.

Did you know that in America 30% of those over 70 report that they cannot independently perform normal activities like standing from a chair or walking in their home?

Many of these cases can be corrected or could have been prevented altogether with consistent aerobic conditioning and resistance training.

3. You start labeling neutral things as “good” or “bad”

“Lifting is bad for your back”. “Pressing is bad for your shoulders”. “Running is bad for your knees”. We’ve all heard it a million times as these are all pervasive ideas in our world.

The way I look at movement and exercise all changed when I realized that there is really no such thing as a “bad” exercise.

Only exercises that you are not prepared YET to do.

Let’s take an example of walking.

Walking may be one of the universal best exercises known to man. What if you have back pain when you walk?

It doesn’t mean that walking itself is bad for your back.

Your tissues are simply not resilient enough YET to walk without discomfort. Now you can start to investigate further as to why instead of writing walking off forever as something “bad”.

4. Your fear keeps you from doing things that actually help you

Let’s stick with the walking example. Research indicates that for individuals with chronic low back pain two of the best things that they can do are walking and HIIT training.

I’m afraid to walk because my back hurts, but walking ultimately helps decrease back pain. It’s quite a conundrum.

Many people fall into the trap of feeling “too old” to do certain things when in fact those things are keys to maintaining a youthful feeling body.

Being afraid of movement keeps us in a rut of performing the same tasks daily over decades. What we truly lose out on is movement variability and over time we lose capacity all together for specific expressions of movement.

A strong aging body needs variety. It needs play. It needs an attitude that is a bit more child like.

5. Your healthcare worker told you so

This one fires me up so I’ll try to keep it PG. Many people avoid exercise, activity, things they enjoy simply because a healthcare provider told them they were “too old” for it.

Let’s clear up a couple things that might be helpful.

Typically black or white answers from healthcare providers mean 1 of 2 things.

  1. They do not have an adequate understanding of mechanics or training to give you helpful advice on things you should/should not do so they tell you to avoid it.

  2. They are stuck in a medical system that prioritizes productivity and they do not have the TIME it takes to get to know you and have in depth conversations about your specific goals.

I find that more often than not it’s a #2 problem. Healthcare providers aren’t bad or incompetent they’re just stuck in a crappy system.

Let’s be clear. You’re not too old to do things so stop taking advice from people who say you are.

There are medicare age people running 100 mile ultramarathons. There are 70 year old women deadlifting 400 pounds. You can have big goals at any age.

If your healthcare provider tells you this then you need a new provider. Period.

The American culture is a complex one. We overall have a very low view of older adults and aging. This lowly view trickles down into society where we see getting old as synonymous with getting weak and frail.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

I’m on a journey to push my body well into older adulthood. I hope you’ll join me.

I hope you’ll recognize these pitfalls along the way.

After all…I’m too old to fall for this sh…stuff.

Stay Kinetic Friends.


Dr. Levi Kerby is a physical therapist, orthopedic certified specialist, and owner of Kinetic Performance and Rehab in Winston-Salem, NC. He enjoys fly fishing, guitar, various forms of fitness, and treating active and motivated individuals.

If you're dealing with an injury or pain, you can contact Kinetic Performance and Rehab directly below.

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