Aging vs. Inactivity

Yoga performed by 80 year old

Many years ago when I started this blog, I set out to show the world that the body is not destined to age the way most people have been led to believe. In the time since, I’ve featured countless stories of men and women who have defied age by maintaining incredible physical abilities in their later years. I’ve also purposely featured people from all walks of life with entirely different goals and talents. We’ve seen elderly bodybuilders, power lifters, endurance athletes, martial artists, gymnasts, and more. Today I’ll add to that list of diversity by featuring an 80 year old yoga practitioner. 

80 Year Old Yoga Display

I’m not easily impressed but the video below definitely caught my attention. To witness this 80 year old man casually transition through a variety of challenging holds is incredibly inspiring. And I say this as someone who has no interest or experience with yoga.

I’m definitely not against yoga. It’s just not something I’ve ever pursued. Therefore, I’m not sharing this video with hopes that everyone drops to the floor in an attempt to replicate this man’s performance. Instead, I’m sharing the video to once again highlight the amazing potential that exists within the human body.

Haven’t we all heard that the body loses flexibility as we grow older? Perhaps age isn’t the true culprit after all. Call it a hunch, but I’ll place a much greater blame on inactivity. The old “use it or lose it” advice rings true more often than not.

Countless Options

It’s also worth restating a theme that I’ve highlighted for many years. There isn’t a single road that we must all travel. For instance, yoga is not the only option to develop or maintain flexibility. Look for no further than Grand Master Jhoon Rhee for a classic example. He was highlighted in a previous entry when he turned 80 years old.

jhoon_rhee

In summary, the moral to the story is rather straightforward. I strongly believe that the key to successful aging is activity. And this holds true regardless of your age. It doesn’t matter if you are 20, 40, 60, or 80, you’ll feel better when you finally decide to get up and move. The specifics of your activity matter less than the consistent and conscious effort to regularly move. We are all free to choose the goals and activities that we desire.

In many ways, you could say that successful aging is quite similar to general fitness. There isn’t a single type of training that should be pursued by all. Almost anything works if the individual is willing to work. Effort typically matters more than the specific activity. Whether you lift weights, run, perform calisthenics, or engage in yoga, you’ll be far ahead of your peers by simply taking the initiative to regularly challenge yourself.

And as evident by the video above, the sky is certainly the limit. Don’t let age hold you back from pursuing the goals that matter to you.

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“The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no recipe for living that suits all cases.” – Carl Jung

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8 comments:

  1. Back in February 2015 I bought two videos from gymnasticbodies.com which take you through their suggested progression of stretches in order to achieve front split and middle splits. I’ve never been a super flexible person, so this was a huge challenge. I could barely get into some of the positions (narrow hurdler, for instance).

    It’s now July 2015, and while I still can’t do a front or middle split, my hip, leg and back flexibility is way better. I can actually foresee a day perhaps 6-12 months in the future where I can accomplish those splits.

    I’m 42.

  2. What I found fascinating, and germane, about the first video is how few people found what he was doing interesting. They all seemed to be focused and involved with another act going on in the background. In a way, the 80 year yoga practitioner, who seems to be nameless, was a side act in a circus of some kind–at least in spirit. Now that could mean that what he was doing is either not appreciated in India or rather common, but I would like to believe it is the former. Keep your body active in some way, and it will remember how it was trained. And in remembering, it will bless you with a long and active life.

  3. If you haven’t tried yoga, you really should. It’s a great workout and makes you feel fantastic.

    But of course, each to their own. The important thing is to do something, and what you do you enjoy.

  4. Amazing article Ross !!!! Thanks for sharing this Ross !!!! I am from India doing yoga and also into Calisthenics and Strength training !!!! Yoga is awesome and not expensive at all !!! But nowhere near this man !!!! inspiring !!!! I have also purchased your DVD and been following you from probably 2000 !!!! An excellent article coming from an excellent fitness coach !!!!!

  5. Love this article. Can’t believe I’ve only just discovered this blog – great tips and advice here. Much appreciated! Might have to look into doing some yoga once in a while. I hear a lot of guys in the gyms saying how stuff like yoga has helped them with their lifting as well.

  6. Words of wisdom man.
    I just wanted to say “congratulations” for your work Mr.Ross.
    We are in the Kinetic Revolution.
    Best wishes from Uruguay.
    Nicolas.

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