May 24, 2011

The Anti-Aging Lie

By: Chris Ecklund, MA, CSCS, USAW

Disclaimer: I’m on a rant. I’ll admit it. I’m frustrated with the wellness industry and I’m probably going to tick some people off with what I’ve got to say. But it needs to be said, so let’s get into it…

Those of you who know me or have read my stuff over the last few years know well that I am not a trend or fad follower (as much as I can help it). Most of the time I find myself running in the opposite direction whenever a new one rears its ugly head. I don’t know if this is something I began doing later in life or if I’ve been this way for a while. My latest favorite from an exercise program that shall remain nameless is the tagline:

Constant Adaptation. Shock your body with constant change so your body never gets used to the workout. That’s how you maximize results.’ 
People…we have known this physiological fact for decades. It’s not new, and they aren’t using it in a new way, FYI. And by the way, it is not always preferable to be in constant adaptation. But apparently, it’s enough to get people to buy it.

Truth is, I find trends either cost too much money, waste too much time, are a different (not better) twist on something we’ve already got, or aren’t backed by enough research to warrant my attention. I’ll admit it…it could be my age, it could be because I’m cheap, or it could even be because I’m a pessimist. But…

Anti Aging???
Come on. I find this is one of the silliest things the wellness and beauty industries are pushing.

Does this sound crazy to anyone else? 
How are we buying into this? You can’t stop aging. There is simply NO WAY to avoid getting older. It IS going to happen. There’s no stopping it. And yet we purchase away, attempting to buy youth, youthfulness, better skin, or whatever else they can think to sell us.

It wasn’t that long ago that elders were to be respected and revered for their life experience and wisdom, was it? What happened to that type of thinking? How did we get here and where did the health and wellness industry start going wrong?

I’ve had a number of conversations with those older (and much wiser) than I over the past few years and I have come truly appreciate their perspectives on some of these issues.

  1. Getting older is a GOOD thing. I’ll thank both my mother and friend Ann Cavalli for this one. I have had numerous conversations with them in which they have both voiced that value and benefits of getting older. Here’s a few to consider (and enjoy)
    • You don’t care as much what people think. You come to terms that you cared much too much about what others thought in your youth and realize how much it negatively affected you and held you back.
    • You have gained life wisdom. We know that knowledge does not equate to great wisdom. Wisdom is earned, it is gained through trial and error of life. This is simply not something you possess to a great degree.
    • You know yourself and others to a greater depth.
  2. It’s not about Anti Aging, it’s about Compressed Morbidity. Yeah, Compressed Morbidity. I know, it doesn’t sound pretty and I can just hear the marketing guys coming up with a big goose egg trying to figure out how to sell that one. Glenn Town (Westmont KNS Dept. Chair) deserves credit for that terminology. Simply stated, our goal should not be to stop aging but to live healthier lives so that we can both enjoy our time now as well as minimize the time we spend in disease/illness later in life. On average, Americans spend about 11 years in a diseased state. Through healthier living it is often reduced to 1.5 years. Here’s a few more:
    • You feel better and have more energy.
    • You have independence later into life than you otherwise would.
    • You don’t waste your life worrying about wrinkles, gray hairs, or other imperfections that don’t deserve your attention.
    • You live less of your life in a diseased state, especially from those that are highly affected by lifestyle (i.e. Cardiovascular-related diseases)
Encouragements? Stop buying what the media is selling. It’ll decrease your worry and increase your bank account. If that means getting rid of your TV or cable so you aren’t inundated with these ridiculous messages…do it. If that means selecting different reading material…do it. If that means spending time with different people who care about the things you want to care about…do it. It’s worth it. While the health and wellness industry has made some strides, we are certainly making some big mistakes…and this is one of them. 
Live life to the full, enjoy it, be healthy and balanced (these two words shouldn’t need to be separated, should they?), learn, grow and get old!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm with ya'!