I mean, what is it that causes sensible, mature, educated people to burst into tears or go thorough 'mid-life' crises at the very mention of their fortieth birthday?
It's weird, isn't it? After all, getting older is a natural part of life.
After working with thousands of people from all walks of life, I can reveal this: it's not the actual calendar years that cause people stress and concern, it's what those years do to your body, your face and your appearance.
Not much of a revelation, I agree, but nonetheless it's true.
In fact, if it wasn't for the visible signs of ageing that build up over the years, most people wouldn't give a damn about how many candles they have on their birthday cake at all.
The trouble is, we're all brainwashed from quite an early age about what it means to grow older. We're told 'you're not getting any younger y'know!' or 'you really should be slowing down and taking it a bit easier at your age' or 'you shouldn't expect to achieve as much as you did when you were younger'.
Look, let's get something straight, once and for all.
Despite what you've been told by doctors, physios and so-called fitness 'experts' over the years, you do not automatically enter into a downward spiral of performance and appearance as you age.
Physical degeneration is not an inevitable part of the ageing process.
In fact, you can and should be able to not only maintain but also improve your physical abilities across the course of your lifetime. You can be fitter in your forties, fifties, sixties and even seventies than you are/were in your twenties and thirties.
Don't believe me?
Just look at the likes of long-distance runner and adventure racer Helen Klein. She took up jogging at 55, and progressed to complete over 75 marathons and 100 ultra-distance marathons (these are races over 100 miles in length) during a career that went on well into her mid-seventies.
What about Professor Art De Vany, author of soon-to-be-published Evolutionary Fitness? He rides mountain bikes and dirt bikes competitively (in open competition), trains rigorously on a daily basis and has an amazingly muscular and firm physique with only 8% bodyfat. He's 68!
These aren't isolated cases, though, sadly, they are quite rare... though they needn't be!
Any day of the week you could begin the process of building the better, fitter, faster, firmer, stronger, leaner you and start to benefit from the amazing energy and vitality that's available to you at every moment of your life, regardless of age.
But first, I need you to understand something.
These improvements do not come from some new fad fitness programme.
They don't come from the latest diet.
They don't come from those fancy gizmos, gadgets or wonder pills.
They come from good, old-fashioned, honest-to-goodness effort.
(This is where I lose half of my readers! : ) )
Just follow my seven-point plan and get the most out ofyour body regardless of your age.
1. Engage in challenging exercise every day. Look, three times a week just doesn't cut it when it comes to maintaining or improving your physical self. The human body is a movement machine, so move it or lose it.
2. Use strength-based exercises at least three times a week where you challenge the muscles and joints and load the bones. With over 600 muscles in the human body, it just doesn't make sense to train the way most people do by isolating different muscles and blasting them to death. Instead, use my 600 rule and try to find exercises that use as many muscles as you possibly can. My Integrated Movement Training page here on handbag will give you a great workout.
3. Drink fresh, clean water every day. You need around a litre for every 50lbs of body weight in order to maintain a decent hydration level. Less than this and your organs, your skin, your muscles and even your brain cease to operate effectively.
4. Avoid all processed food. Another name for processed food is 'denatured' food. In other words, all of the nature has been removed from it in order to make it last longer on the shelves. Do you really want to eat something without any 'nature' in it? Only you can decide that, but I tell you this: foods with colourings, flavourings and numbers instead of ingredients will more likely end your life early than extend it. Opt instead for fresh produce, ensuring that 80% of what you eat comes from fresh (ideally organic) sources.
5. Eat less. People eat too much. Enough said.
6. Sleep more. The human body requires sleep of both great quality and quantity. Getting eight hours a night is a good start, but not enough. To truly benefit from your sleep, try to get your sleep patterns worked out so that you are asleep between the hours of 10pm and 2am to make the most of your body's hormonal repair processes. The hours 2am to 6am are important to countering stress. In other words, all sleep is not the same. The timing is important too.
7. Relax more. Yep, I know I said to move more, but I also want you to relax more too. That doesn't mean watch more TV. Read a book, listen to music, take a massage or acupuncture, take more holidays, add variety to your weekends. Studies show that people who are more aware of the need for a balance between activity and constructive relaxation live longer, are less stressed and achieve more.
Well, there you go.
My guide to looking and performing better as you age.
It may not be what you were expecting.
In fact, many of you are probably thinking, 'Yeah, but I know all that already, where's the new stuff?'
Sorry, not this time!
There's nothing faddy, or hi-tech about this approach. It just works.
My challenge to you is to take everything I've just told you and use it for 30 days in its entirety. Don't skip a thing. If you do, I GUARANTEE that no matter what your current age or physical condition is, you'll look, feel and perform better than you have in years.
If you want a more structured system of applying these reules, then go to www.lookgreatnakedchallenge.com