Is Running the Key to Aging?

As always, let’s start somewhere completely unrelated: adolescence. 

Think about this for a moment: if our brains control our bodies, do we control our own adolescence? We always talk about puberty like it’s some event that “happens when it happens.” Consider for a moment that we play at least some role in our own development. I think it’s more than that, but I want you to keep reading.

We do not know why some people go through puberty before others. We just don’t. There’s a nice age range and we know that girls typically go before guys, but that’s about it.

So let’s make our typical assumptions. If time does not exist, what is the difference between our subject when she’s 10 and when she’s 15? Her mind. So if her mind is the only thing to change, and we know that age of puberty onset is not genetic, how do we control when we hit puberty?

There are disparities in puberty onset of different races. Take a look at this. There’s a significant average onset age difference between different races and cultures. Surely you know by now that I don’t buy into the fact that genetics controls everything we don’t understand. There are other factors at play here, and we should look at them with an open mind.

Puberty begins earlier in African American girls. We’ve looked into black culture a good bit over the past month. You know what else we know about black girls, generally speaking? They don’t workout

Think about this for a moment: Female track athletes almost always look like they’re fifteen, or younger. You pick your definition of the development of women, and you will not find it in these girls.

See what I mean?

Running is known to help longevity.  This article goes a lot further than that. It’s basically saying that running is the fountain of youth. So I’ve already written about how aging starts in the brain, so if that is true, what does running do to the brain? I found an article about that too, but then I got to thinking: if we don’t know how the brain works, how can we say what running does that will benefit it? Here’s what you should take away from this: aging is not what you want to do. People get ugly and less productive, and less functional as they age. Cancer and most all diseases develop later in life, as we age. So if running is what we say keeps you from aging, you should run. Or pick your cardio of choice.

So if we know that you today is the same as you tomorrow, and is the same as you in five years, what does running to do slow down the aging process? We know now that aging starts in the brain. As the brain ages, the body ages.

Running can change your brain.  This is a great post that explores the mental benefits from running at several different angles. I think it’s simple: running is a stress reliever and the right amount of cardio helps alter our perception of time.

Think about the sports where the athletes look the best. In my opinion, basketball, soccer, and tennis. Three of the most run-intense sports. I prefer to look at the professional athletes, because you’ll get a larger percentage of days and time on court. The NBA players are in a league of their own.

So find your venue of choice, and go running.

Your scale is killing you

Hop on today. Look down. Then decide what to eat. Repeat the cycle until you like what number you see. That’s the only way to be happy, right?

Your scale doesn’t know if you’re hungry. It just doesn’t. So don’t let it decide if you eat breakfast or not.

Your scale doesn’t know your body fat percentage. Well, you may have a fancy scale that estimates this, like me. But otherwise you literally just see a number.

Muscle weighs more than fat. Proven fact. So if you’re the same size [volume] you were last month, and you put on two pounds, that’s a good thing.

We don’t know how much you’re supposed to weigh. We have “recommended guidelines” of height and weight, but I wouldn’t let them rule your life.

The lightest person doesn’t win. I mean, he may, depending on the contest. But if you weren’t meant to be 150 pounds, it’s going to be hell getting there. And after you get there you’re going to be hungry all the time.  [See How to age like white people]

Your scale doesn’t know if you’re happy. So what if you’re perfectly happy and fifteen pounds overweight. I think you forgot the part that you’re perfectly happy. Get off the scale and go back to whatever you were doing before.



You’re working out wrong

It’s not about how hard you can push yourself. It’s about how much you can relax while your body is pushing. Your body performs its best when it’s relaxed, so your goal in the gym should be more of a meditative state under different types of duress.

If you can’t do the same exercise every single day, you’re pushing too hard. I’m not saying you need to [quite the opposite], but this should help reshape your intensity. Think about whatever manual labor job you want, where you saw someone that was naturally ripped. That’s not a coincidence. You lift boxes all day, and you’ll have to learn to relax while you’re doing it, or you’ll need to find another job.

So how do I get stronger? Your body will still develop, but at it’s own pace. You deciding that you’re going to spend an extra hour in the gym just because you want it more than everybody else isn’t going to help you.

You’ve heard the term country strong. It’s that guy in college that never worked out but was built like an ox. His first day in the gym he lifted way more than you ever could. This is why.

Do not let your mind get involved with your workout. If you can’t relax with the weight you have on the bar, it’s too much. I’m not saying don’t push yourself, but if you start to feel muscles tear, that’s too much. Once it starts hurting, you’re done with that muscle group for the day.

Do not flex or clench at the top of any lifts. Stay relaxed the whole time. I assume you want to be chiseled when you’re just walking around, not just when you flex.  Bring that intensity with you everywhere.

Listen to your body. It knows better than you do. Better than I do. And most certainly better than that article you read in Fitness magazine.

Let’s assume I’m wrong. I’m not, but just assume it. It’s still worth testing. If what I’m saying is true, you’re literally wasting away in the gym. Take it back a couple notches for a couple weeks and see if you notice any improvement.