Use it or lose it – be active

Tom Petty has a lyric, “If you don’t run, you rust”.  Quite so.  In order to retain physical strength and mobility you must do strengthening and mobilising actions.  In order to retain mental acuity, exercise your mind with problem solving, by remembering names, dates and events, and by acquiring new knowledge.  Be active in body and mind.  Ultimately, you must use it or lose it.

How do you stack up?

I have recently been teaching yoga to someone who I knew when our sons were at the same primary school.  In the intervening years, yoga has been a constant feature in my life.  I am lean, my posture is adequate, I am mobile and strong in terms of my ability to perform essential functions of everyday life.  I do not do bench presses and would not move much tin in that respect.  However, I can brace my hands on the floor and engage my core to lift my legs away from the floor.  There is strength in that.

Use it or lose it - be active

My fellow parent from primary school days presents differently.  This person is lean – no doubt of that.  However, their spine is rounded forward a lot in the thoracic region (kyphosis) giving them a poor, stooped posture.  They are quite stiff in larger movements and the tightness that has accumulated means their large movements are quite limited in range and their body in less responsive than ideal.  They lack strength in their ability to carry their own body weight in a range of actions.

It is not aging – per se!

What this person exhibits is what many people attribute to age.  It may be that their age has increased while strength, mobility and posture have decreased.  However, it is not solely the responsibility of nor the necessary result of age.  Disuse is the greatest issue.  If two people can move from similarity to significant difference in the qualities of strength, mobility and posture across the same period of time from a very similar starting point in age, it is not just aging that is the problem.

Be present and aware of the areas where you are losing ground on where you were in the past.  Consider that any loss in function or performance is not necessarily down to the accretion of years and a natural reduction in performance criteria.  Be open to the role you need to play in sustaining, even reclaiming, health and vitality.


There is discussion these days of not just life-span but health-span.  For what period of your life will you be healthy?  Make it your business in what you eat, the way you move and how you apply yourself to daily life to be healthy now and every day deep into your lifespan.  I have no desire to spend my old age in a decrepit state.  I mean to be vigorous mobile and healthy as long as I can.  How will I contribute to that goal today?  I am off to yoga for an hour long class of weight-bearing, forward and backward bending, twisting and moving.  Join me.