At what age do you begin to physically fall apart?

Step by Step: Inadequate use has resulted in serious defects – my body is no longer in full working order

‘Due to back pain, I’ve spent much of the past fortnight lying on a bed, a couch or the kitchen floor – usually wondering how to get up.’ Photograph: Thinkstock

‘Due to back pain, I’ve spent much of the past fortnight lying on a bed, a couch or the kitchen floor – usually wondering how to get up.’ Photograph: Thinkstock

 

The warranty on my body ran out several years ago. Since then, I’ve been physically falling apart. It’s typical – manufacturers always know how long to limit a guarantee.

There is zero chance of an extended warranty on this product – it was delivered fit for purpose, but improper use and inadequate maintenance and care has resulted in serious defects, and this body is certainly no longer in proper working order. It’d be handier to just replace it with a newer model (at least according to my wife).

I’ve done little or no exercise in almost a month, for two rather different reasons. Over Christmas, I decided to take my own advice and take a break from regular exercise and to saying no to anything that would tempt Hansel or Gretel.

It was not intended to be as radical a shift from my health and fitness routine as it turned out to be, but I am nothing if not committed (particularly, if quitting something is what I’ve decided to concentrate on).

Return to exercise

My return to exercise was for a charity Gaelic football match, which is where we find excuse number two. Due to back pain, I’ve spent much of the past fortnight lying on a bed, a couch or the kitchen floor – usually wondering how to get up. My only respite has been the chocolates and sweets that survived the Christmas Armageddon, though this has meant my recent two and a half stone weight loss has also taken a battering.

Lower back pain has followed me around for several years – often, and with more frequency, reminding me of my limitations. (While we’re at it, any pharmacy that puts back pain products on their store’s bottom shelf deserve, well, back pain.)

Unfortunately, I’ve no one else to blame for the injury but myself.

I’m not, and this is breaking news, as young as I used to be – though the only one who needs convincing is myself.

Your physical wellbeing depends on such variables as luck, diet, genetics, history, attitude, environment and luck (yes, we know that’s twice). Regardless, at some stage, you will start to slowly fall asunder.

When it begins, it’s not advisable to ignore the process entirely.

I have a history of unwise decisions when it comes to exercising – often not warming up properly, never warming down and, most frequently, overdoing exercise.

This is less of a difficulty when your body is as young as you would like it to be. But, now, well, I should know better.

I’ve never been a stranger to the gym, I just never allowed it to get too familiar. I would go at a regularity that meant whatever benefit I got from the previous visit was long forgotten by my body. I would lift the heaviest weights I could, for as many times as I could – confident other gym users would be suitably impressed. And then I would moan and groan for days while my muscles, such as they are, let me know of its displeasure for my stupidity.

Luckily, I would have forgotten all about the pain of stupid training when I make the next trip to the gym, a month or so later.

Too much, too quickly, with too much intensity. It is the perfect recipe for injury.

If your knee alerts you whenever the weather is about to change, it’s advisable not to pound the roads of Ireland in your shorts and runners. If you have weak wrists, bench pressing is probably not for you.

Knowing your body’s limitations is one thing, knowing how they change with age is another.

When I went to play the Gaelic football game, I turned, twisted and jumped, landed awkwardly more than once and, refusing to give up, pushed through the pain barrier.

Eventually, thanks to that brave effort, I managed to get my playing gear on. The actual game was something else entirely. 

Step by step
Intellectual approach to losing weight
Most apps on straps are rubbish
My daughter is trying to kill me
It’s not you, it’s me. Hold on, it’s you
You don’t have to turn into an ass
I met my next child’s godfather at a race
It’s tough when momentum runs out
No sweetness, and lite everything
Stopping the treadmill with your tummy
When it’s my turn to make dinner . . .
The kitchen table looks out for us
- Skinny friend eats like an elephant
Tomorrow we diet
How to get back into exercise
At what age do you fall apart?
I’d jog for wine
I’m a binge drinker
- What if losing weight makes you sad?
- 12 months later, time for health tips
- The ultimate global deception

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