This post was written by Russ Blanck, a 56-year old police officer who adopted CrossFit and a Paleo lifestyle as a means to maximize his functional fitness. CrossFit and Paleo have helped him achieve his goals. He works and trains alongside officers 20 to 30 years younger than him. As a certified emergency manager he provides logistical support for critical incidents and other emergencies and is a member of an elite team trained to deploy to the emergency operations centers of all 50 states to provide such support and he’s an all-around AWESOME dude! And here’s what Russ has to say (it’s good stuff folks):
A comment in a Special Report of the November 2, 2014 New York Times by Katie Hafner entitled “An Aging Nation Braces for More Deadly Falls” served as the catalyst for this post. It read “As the population ages and people live longer in bad shape, the number of older Americans who fall and suffer serious, even fatal, injuries is soaring.” As people don’t usually reduce their thoughts to writing about things with which they agree or that make them happy then yes, you guessed it, the comment caused me no small degree of concern. Which part? Well, as a person in the second half of my 50’s, all of it. But it is the “… people live longer in bad shape…” remark that got my dander up.
I concede the writer was not out to address how senior citizens come to be in the shape they are in. And she did point out that an 85-year old in excellent health has no greater fall risk than a person 20 years younger. Yet, it is at best demoralizing, and at worst defeatist, to simply accept that living longer and being in bad shape are inextricably correlated. Because to do so means that we have given up the fight. And I, for one, don’t intend to.
You wouldn’t be reading this on this website if you weren’t already aware of the importance of healthy eating, intelligently programmed exercise, mobility, and stress reduction to avoiding being in “bad shape.” There are vast resources available from some very talented individuals to help us ward off that moniker. Many of these resources are free. And, with all due respect as well as gratitude to the leaders in their respective fields, much of the information has been made relatively easy to understand by the lay person.
What am I doing about all this? Well for starters, I refuse to assume, much less accept, that going into old age in “bad shape” is inevitable. I do my best to live a Paleolithic lifestyle. I follow good Paleo-based websites and blogs and make specific to me those things that are workable in my life. When I needed to customize aspects of Paleo I engaged the services of a talented Registered Dietitian. I joined an excellent CrossFit box with knowledgeable coaches, intelligent programming and a supportive environment. CrossFit’s emphasis on functional fitness has made it possible for me to do things at my current age I couldn’t do when I was decades younger. I mobilize even though my body seems to be anything but cooperative in that regard. And finally, I engage in mindfulness meditation. Mobilization and mindfulness mediation resources are available online for free or a relatively modest cost. So why throw in the towel when you don’t have to? Choose the shape you want to be as well as grow old in and work for it. In fact, fight for it. But don’t accept living longer means living in “bad shape.” You can’t spell “bad shape” without “BS.”