As a health professional, clinical hypnotherapist and naturopath in Sydney I see many people in my clinic who have become extremely unhealthy due to the lifestyles they are living and weakness of the body.
Sometimes they have become so disabled they end up on medications and undergoing surgeries that they would not need if they were physically fit.
Sarcopenia is the loss of muscle size and strength with ageing, particularly after menopause and andropause as you come up to 50 years old.
You may find it difficult to carry out normal tasks or to breathe well; you may get dizzy, stumble and fall over and cannot tolerate a sudden need for physical exertion. If you are towards 60 you may begin to fall and have accidents due to sarcopenia.
The shocking news, however, is research shows people can induce sarcopenia much earlier in life, from your 20s onwards, when the natural care of your body on a day-to-day basis is absent.
In fact, in modern Western societies the increase in obesity to over 50% of the population now means that over half the population suffer from premature sarcopenia.
Ask yourself these questions:
Have you convinced yourself that ageing equates loss of strength?
Would you have difficulty running a kilometre in an emergency?
Do you spend more money on your motor vehicle or holiday than your health each year?
Are there clothes you cannot wear because you are overweight?
Do you fail to exercise at least twice every single week religiously?
Do you fail to have the body and strength you would like?
If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, barring disease, you are not looking after yourself on a regular basis.
You are likely to be one of the 50%-plus of society who now age in ill health, with weak, fatty, flabby muscles, probably on medications that are avoidable.
When I say muscles, I mean the skeletal muscles of your arms, legs, central core muscles around your torso and your heart muscles. To live a healthy life all of these need to be in good condition for your body to work well and for you to have good health.
You are probably asking, “If I’ve let myself go, can I recover my health?”
For most people the answer is ‘yes’, but the biggest change you need to make is your attitude to your body, health and self-care.
If you do not make that change of mind permanently, you will just become someone who professes they want good health but never actually commits to it, like yoyo dieters or people who have a gym membership but make excuses not to go there.
At 48 years old Alan Murray-Wakelin was overweight, smoked, drank alcohol and could not run around the block. At 68 he had trained himself to run 366 marathons around Australia in 366 consecutive days with his wife Janette who was 63 at the time and a cancer survivor.
At 40 Rich Roll was an out-of-shape California lawyer, who had problems with alcohol and drugs and had difficulty climbing stairs. Now in his 50s he is one of the world’s most exclusive athletes who completes in the Hawaii ultra-triathlon (invitation only), which is three triathlons in one, beating people half his age.
At 62 the American female power lifter and athlete Rocky Luedeker is a woman who holds 26 state and national records. She also holds 13 world records and has no plans to quit. She only started competing in her late 50s.
In recovering muscle strength, condition, shape and tenacity, it is important to do that in a way that reshapes the body.
Simply training furiously at the gym when you are overweight and misshapen will only create a bulky frame which may not be what you want or need.
Starving yourself of food so you eat fewer calories also does not produce muscle strength but simply makes you tied and malnourished.
So it is important to reclaim your muscle strength in the right way so it serves to strengthen your whole body in a lasting, sustainable way.
Here’s what you can do to start to regain your health and strength:
• Train your mind to create a strong, healthy life
• Commit 100% to being the best you can be physically
• Get help from or hang out with extremely healthy people, not people who only profess to know about heath, whether they are health professionals or not
• Exercise gently and repetitively; never strain your body, but instead build its strength
• Get professional help to build a healthy, strong body eating a plant-based diet
• Take pride in your physical wellbeing and be prepared to invest time and money in your health
As the author of this article I can tell you that I am an extreme athlete, who was a dancer when young and still dances on pointe at 63 years old, training 12 to 14 hours per week, leaving people a third of my age exhausted in the gym. I have a BMI of around 20, low body fat and extremely dense muscles. So I do walk my walk and talk my talk.
Dr Tracie O’Keefe DCH, BHSc, ND is a clinical hypnotherapist and naturopath who works with winning and title-holding sports people. She also consults with members of the public who can visit her clinic in Sydney or consults via Skype.