Staying in the Game: It’s never too early to start training for health in old age

Elite and professional athletes train specifically for their sport. They want to excel and stay one step ahead of the competition. This takes discipline and dedication.

Natural talent will only take you so far. You need to set goals so you can track your progress. Remember your competition is also training. Train smart and train right.

Patients will often say to me, “You are in good shape, what are you training for?” My response is, “Old Age.”

Many people look forward to the time that they can retire. They have great aspirations to do the things they have not been able to do while they have been raising a family and/or working full time.

Many of us have financial goals so we may retire at some point in our lives. Do you have health goals so you can do all the things you dream of doing when you retire such as traveling, gardening, enjoying a hobby or even start another business?

I work with my patients to get them to recognize the need to start exercising and eating right for the long run which you can learn more about it here. I call it a “health account.” It is just like a retirement account but you are doing healthy things now so you can draw on your savings later. Then you can do all the things you dreamed of doing in retirement.

One patient I have seen intermittently over the years is a great example. Before he became a patient he went from 240 pounds to 185. He was in his 40s.

He did this by running, weight training and eating right. He became a student of healthy living. He was on blood pressure medication before he started training and now no longer needs the prescription.

He told me about a party he and his wife attended. The people that he knew came up to him and asked him if he was sick because of the weight loss.

He was very proud of the results he achieved with his training. He was dismayed by people’s response to his achievements. I told him that many of these people are out of shape and sickly. Why would they want to be around someone as fit as you?

You are like an alcoholic who quits drinking. Many times they have to find a new circle of friends because the old drinking buddies do not want a sober guy around. I told him he may have to find a new circle of health-oriented friends.

He is now in his 50s and heavier. He told me he is back on blood pressure medication. He continues to train but he changed how he trains.

He started lifting heavy and was trying to compete with the young guns in the gym. He reduced the amount of cardio and was now doing mixed marshal arts. He changed his diet to include muscle and weight-gain supplements such as creatine.

He has gone from 185 to 215 pounds. I asked him, “Are you nuts?”

This is when I told him that he needs to reassess his training and his goals. Who cares if you can bench 300 pounds? What is important is to live a long healthy and fully functional life.

He got off all the supplements for muscle and weight gain. He will stop lifting heavy and add yoga into his routine. I referred him to Justin Warren, the owner of Bear Essentials Gym in Saco for a new workout.

This patient’s natural weight is 185 and this is his goal, which we believe will allow him to get off his medications and live that long healthy functional life.


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