"It is also SO encouraging to learn that you/we can create muscle mass at an older age and progress in body building or strength training!! ... I get excited just reading about it. The old mythology told us to 'give it up' as we age. Your dedication and success are so inspiring and are a great kick in the butt for me ... there really is no excuse not to try! Thanks for that too."
That message fires me up to kick more butts off the couches and rocking chairs and into the vibrant vital life of bodybuilding. It validates the reason for my writings. You all know the myth of which he writes. Well-meaning folks believe it is their duty to 'take care of the old folks,' to give them an easy time in their 'last years.' It is their understanding that as one gets up in years, he should have less vitality because his bones, muscles and nerves are tired and need rest. "He has paid his dues," they say, "now we should see that he enjoys some leisure in the years (months?) he has left."
Well-intentioned charitable agencies similarly promote this myth. Examples are found in churches such as the one I attend which has a program launched to build a 'retirement center' for seniors. It is full of concepts that are intended make life easy for the residents. I have advanced the idea to the church leaders that while some seniors do need care givers, their plans should include assisting capable residents to become rejuvenated through a vigorous exercise program. My written offer to work with them in this respect has been met with absolute silence. It is my suspicion that it is more self-satisfying for them to make life easier for the 'old folks' than to promote their physical, mental, social rejuvenation. To provide for the latter might just elevate the seniors to a less dependant vitality, decreasing the 'market' of seniors needing assistance in their 'last years.'
The blame for perpetuating the myth is shared by some seniors themselves. Probably because, believing the myth, they are eager to allow themselves to vegetate, relaxing on the couch or rocking chair. In many there is a certain weariness born of years of meeting the challenges of life. The opportunity to be able to relax and have others discharge the obligations rising from the challenges becomes appealing.
First off, the idea that a person must use his bones, muscles and nerves less as he ages, has it all backward. The human body is a wonderful creation, which responds favorably to the challenges given it. That is, when you exert your muscles, bones or nerves beyond what they can handle, and then rest a bit, the body then goes to work to increase the muscles bones or nerves to be ready to meet the next like challenge to them. In other words, they grow and improve when they have the need to do so. The contrary also holds: if you do not require your body to do more, it will become even less able. This being the truth, contrary to the old myth, a person should not take it easy as the years mount. Rather, he should work out, challenging his body to respond, as it shall, with growth.
Some personal trainers make a mistake in their training of seniors. They are afraid to really work out the senior trainee. I know this to be true from my own experience. In my first days of working out to reclaim vital life, a young, well-intentioned but inexperienced trainer guided me. I have previously mentioned that I started out with very light exercises. I did. That is so because the trainer believed that he had to "go easy on the old man." Although I had clearance from my doctors, the trainer believed that if I 'over exerted' I might have a heart attack or a stroke or something. I think his concern was as much for himself as it was for me. He didn't want an emergency on his watch!
I had to ask him repeatedly to train me harder, expect more of me. His reluctance to do that was one of the reasons I found a real bodybuilder trainer who expects no less of me than he does of his younger clients. "Ask and you shall receive" is a better guide. If you are really serious about developing your physique through bodybuilding, you will be unable to do it unless both you and your trainer make demands in your training that go beyond, far beyond what the myth says of seniors. If much is demanded of you, much will be achieved. To ask little is to insure that the ravages of age will continue to be manifested. In this age is not a consideration at all.
Remember the focus of these articles. The young as well as seniors, I am told, follow their philosophy, with interest. Still, the primary goal of these articles is to be of help to those who have reached advanced years of life and/or have some serious medical diagnosis. These I am encouraging to take charge of their lives through bodybuilding so that they may move from a vegetative state of 'waiting for the end.' I call upon them to heed the truth of the old hymn's words,
Kill the myth that tells us you cannot increase muscle mass at an older age and progress in body building or strength training! You not only can, but your body demands that you must. If you accept the myth, you will only become progressively older in mind, spirit and body. If you take charge of your life through bodybuilding, you will become living proof of the error of the myth. Your muscles will respond to the demands and grow, supported accompanied by the equal growth of your mind and spirit. Who will have the victory: the false myth or your desire for rejuvenation?