Are you prepared

In 1992, Chris McCandless ventured into the Alaskan wilderness with little more than a romanticised vision of living off the land. His preparations were minimal – although he had studied foraging, he misunderstood critical information about edible plants. His survival gear was inadequate: he carried a .22 caliber rifle, more suitable for small game than for bear hunting, wore improper footwear, and brought only 10 pounds of rice.

Ultimately, he succumbed to starvation.

Like McCandless, many of us hold idealistic visions of our future, picturing ourselves enjoying good health in our later years. Yet, often, we are unprepared.

What are you preparing for?

Most of us share a straightforward goal to navigate our environments independently. Our specific aims might vary – some of us hope to walk and climb stairs without assistance, others to continue playing a favourite sport or go skiing with grandchildren. Your goals will dictate the physical capacity you need in the future, and that capacity will determine the work you need to do now to ensure you can meet those goals later.

Just as we invest money to support ourselves in retirement, we need to build our physical “bank” to draw on later in life.

For example, climbing stairs requires a certain amount of energy. Your leg muscles need significant energy to contract, requiring oxygen to metabolize fats and sugars into ATP, our body’s energy currency. As we age, these energy demands do not decrease – if our weight remains constant and the stairs are just as steep, our muscles must produce the same amount of power. However, as previously outlined, without regular exercise, our muscles lose strength with age, a phenomenon called Sarcopenia. This ultimately results in an increased risk of disability as shown below.

Howard Luks muscle mass and longevity sarcopenia g 9900000000079e3c


Using stairs as an example, we can express the demand with a simple formula:

  • Power = Work/Time.

When climbing the same set of stairs, the work (affected by gravity and the height of the stairs) remains constant. This leaves the variables of power and time. To climb stairs faster requires more power. However, we know that our ability to produce power diminishes with age. Therefore, reduced power results in it taking longer to climb the same flight of stairs. This principle holds true across all activities: hitting a tennis or golf ball with less force, running slower, or finding it harder to lift a suitcase.

We face a dilemma: we aspire to continue enjoying our favourite activities, but our bodies gradually lose the capacity to produce and utilise the necessary energy and power.

What’s the solution?

We must treat our bodies like a savings account – the greater our physical “deposits” the more we can “withdraw” in terms of energy and power in the future. The only way to do this is through regular exercise that will enhance your strength and physical capacity.

Engage in both aerobic and resistance training exercises:

  • Aerobic activities like walking, cycling, or swimming help improve cardiovascular health and endurance.
  • Resistance training, such as weightlifting or bodyweight exercises, helps maintain and build muscle mass and strength.

As this study on 90 year olds shows it’s never too late to start. Resistance training will result in muscle and strength gains at all ages, and allow you to do more of the things you love for longer.

Committing to regular exercise requires time, endurance through discomfort, and managing the inevitable episodes of pain and injury; consider these investments we make for a better future.

If you need help to build a healthier you, design an appropriate exercise regime, or help recover from injury or resolve pain that’s holding you back, we’re here to help.  Online, by email, or on 02079371628

Prepare for the future.

Keep moving,