“How I lost my legs to a car” may sound a little dramatic but it is just what happens not only to me but to millions and millions of people every day. It is not the quick, instant loss of limbs and disabilities that can be the result of a horrific impact crash. Hopefully most of us will never experience that. It is rather the insidious encroachment of atrophy that results from making both conscious and unconscious decisions to drive instead of either walk or ride a bicycle. It is an extremely painful process that can only be described as a downward spiral of mind, body and spirit.
A lot of the time it is an unconscious lifestyle choice that makes it almost impossible to keep moving at the rate that we did when we were in high school our on a college sports team.
Are your unconscious lifestyle choices aging you too fast? – Tweet This
This is the plight of the modern Homosapien. It starts in school; from kindergarten through high school we sit for hours and hours every day. Then we enter College and we sit for years until we graduate and then we get a job working in a cubical where we sit until we are sixty five and by then when we are entering our golden years our bodies are so broken down from atrophy until we spend the last fourteen years of our life in the revolving door of the medical industry in a diminished state.
When I first became a raw vegan in my early twenties my main focus was to discover a high powered, clean burning energy source that would allow me to perform at a peak level in extreme sports. The raw vegan diet worked for me in that capacity beyond my highest expectations. But when I entered into my forties I noticed that I was aging though not as fast as the the other baby boomers around me.
It was at that point that I became fascinated with the concept of using the raw vegan diet to stop, reverse or at least to slow down the aging process. Over the next two decades I became aware of just how important dietary choices are. I was able to hold back the major devastations that are visited upon us by the onslaught of time.
What the Raw Vegan Diet brings to the table is it allows the body to regenerate on a cellular level. When our cells are able to split and reproduce themselves perfectly, then the overall results are a slowing down of the aging process. When our cells are able through a process of osmosis to receive nutrients and eliminate waste then we don’t suffer the chronic fatigue that is usually associated with aging.
But what I didn’t take into consideration were the subtle effects of time in relationship to atrophy, so instead of having obvious debilitating chronic conditions like heart conditions, diabetes, or joint problems which mostly have their start in a clogged up, bogged down system I was able to cruise along into my sixties without any noticeable effects of time encroaching upon me.
I had a system of working out that pretty much kept me in tone even though I was not functioning at nearly the energy level output that I did in my twenties. I now had a family, an Internet business and lots of responsibilities. I noticed for the first time that if I didn’t watch myself I would start to put on weight around my middle. This started happening around forty-five. But if I focused hard on my workouts, it was not hard to dial it back down.
My optimum weight is around 175 but at the height of my weight gain I was weighing in at around 200 pounds. I was still muscular but not as light on my feet. I was spending hours in front of the computer like most of us in this modern technological society. And somehow it just sort of sneaked up on me without me even realizing it. I was able to get my weight down to a steady 180 to 185. My waist was still the same size as it was in my twenties, I was just broader across the shoulders and thighs.
I was making some breakthroughs in the realm of exercise and diet even though I was not moving as much. I was doing what a lot of people do; I was maintaining beach muscles. These are muscles that look good but they don’t have the endurance capacity of a high performance athlete.
If we sit for over five hours then we have injured our bodies in a way that even if we go directly into a workout we can’t completely undo.
What happens is atrophy sets in. It sets into our feet because we all wear shoes that don’t allow the arch of our foot to move in such a way that it reduces and absorbs the shock of walking and running. With all the fancy running shoes (according to the book “Born to Run”) we don’t compensate and adjust ourselves to our terrain, and we end up with knee and back injuries. And then sitting puts three times as much stress on our lower back as standing.
But for me it was the car that I felt did me the most damage without me even realizing it. About four months ago I hooked up with a group of trail runners. Running mountain trails was something that I was totally into in my twenties. I lived in a mountain cabin four miles up a mountain trail. I didn’t own a car so I had to bike another 11 miles to town to get food. My workout was built into my lifestyle.
When I went running with the trail runners I got dropped, my legs were jelly, I had to sit down, – everything was spinning. By the end of the day I had trouble walking back on a moderate run that I could have sprinted in my twenties, thirties and even forties. It was a real eye opener. Not only were my legs gone but my wind was gone and that lightness of being that we associate with youth was gone. It had just slipped away; lost in the day to day grind.
The big question is or was am I getting old at 63 or did I just stop moving. I tried going back to the bicycle but there was always something that I had to take care of with the car, so it really didn’t work. Then about a month ago I just let go of the car; it was a rental anyway so it was easier than if I had been tied into it with a lease or ownership.
Do we stop moving because we get old or do we get old because we stop moving? – Tweet This
The first week was agony. Any time I hit any type of hill my body would crack open with pain. But then it started getting easier. I found that it was also a lifestyle change that I could share with my kids. We all started riding everywhere. And now after a month I can truly say that I can’t imagine going back to driving everywhere.
I went back to the mountain trail that had so humbled me and I was able to run the length of it without effort beyond just the sheer joy of running fast and hard over a long distance. I’m eating much less and performing at a much higher level and my weight has readjusted to 177. I don’t envision being without a car forever; its just not practical. But I’m going to continue in this vein until know that I can handle having a car and driving it instead of it driving me into an accelerated aging paradigm.