I remember being fascinated by the age of exploration when I first read about it in grade school. The world back then must have seemed like an O. Henry short story-marvelous discoveries and revelations appeared to be waiting behind every corner.
One of the most famous of the Age of Exploration’s quests was the search for the fountain of youth by Ponce de Leon. Although they have yet to find a literal fountain of youth there, many elderly have found it to be an ideal place with which to extend their twilight years through a number of activities, many with a beneficial exercise effect. And that is another important relationship between exercise and time. We measure our lives in terms of the span of our years but it’s also the life in our years that is of tremendous value. Herein lies the valuable distinction between our chronological age and our actual age, a distinction made popular by such celebrities as Dr. Oz.
Could it be that these septuagenarians have found something that eluded the Spanish conquistador? Whether it’s tennis, golf or swimming, there are a number of ways to create an exercise effect through an activity you enjoy. And that touches on an important truth about how many, young and old, approach exercise today. If it’s not fun, they won’t stick with it.
I’ll have more to say about the relationship between exercise and pleasure in a future post. For now, I’d like to merely point out that the most effective form of exercise for extending life and vitality currently available is strength training. And the strength training approach that best strikes a balance between effectiveness, time-efficiency and safety is a high intensity, slow motion approach like the one I employ at Inner Strength Fitness. This form of exercise, although effortful, makes the muscles stronger, yielding stronger connective tissue, stronger bones, a more responsive cardiovascular system and numerous cellular health benefits. And these benefits will not only extend the vitality of your years, they make every recreational activity you pursue more rewarding. If strength training, properly performed, is not the fabled fountain of youth, I don’t know what is.