I have been watching the same people running for years around my town. Some of them I know, some I don’t. A few I know peripherally. That is to say I know their name and not much else. But the group that I am observing has been running to stay fit for the last decade or so by my estimation. The last few years I have observed a slow down across the board. The pace is slower to be sure but the way they are moving is what’s really drawing my attention. The best description of what I am seeing is this; they have slipped into a plodding gait. A sort of “back on their heels” form of locomotion. It’s heavy and lacks the spring that is an essential component of a good running stride. Why? You can blame the passage of time exclusively and who am I to say it’s not in the mix. But as I am acquainted with another set of people that are roughly the same age where this is not happening. I think I know why…they are dedicated to strength training.
Muscle is your armor, your shock absorber, and your lodestar. One group is sweating their muscle off while another is working to keep layering it on. The weight training is pushing back against the hands of time. The fountain of youth may be out of reach but the wayback machine is open for business.
The science is admittedly thin in this observation, the group is small, and I am not in possession of all the facts. But I can say this: The people that I do know (in the group of plodders) don’t have much of a strength program in place. The conclusion that I am drawing from this is that you can run your muscle off if you don’t have a strength training program. Let me be clear, this is a passive situation and not active one. Your cardiovascular exercise doesn’t strip your muscle but neglecting strength and agility training seems to. Each passing decade will try to rob you of your strength and you’ll need to put up a fight.
Here’s the good part; you don’t have to dedicate your whole life to strength training. Set aside some time each week and start to push back. The momentum against you is relentless so you need to get in there and mix it up. I’m giving it to you with the bark off. Neglect a strength program and you will slowly fade away. Fight back and you will be shocked at the results. As with most everything in life it’s your choice.