Youthful (2)

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How does a young person move?

This is an interesting question. There is a sense of ease. No struggling, grunting or groaning, no pain in the back or the knees.
The body responds instantly to the dictates of the mind
. A young person is spontaneous and free.

How does an older person move?

Their steps are often very heavy and their legs are locked and immobile. There is a sense of clumsiness. People frequently walk in an agitated manner; over-striding and erratic.
The lower back is inflexible and the sacroiliac does not move correctly. The back is stooped, the neck stiff and the hands are tight.


Exercise methods

Many modern approaches to exercise do not cultivate youthful movement. In fact, they do not encourage movement at all.
Harsh training methods promote an immense amount of muscular tension which prevents the joints from moving properly.

Motor learning

For many people, their fitness regime does not take into account
'motor learning'. Motor learning is about the process of using the body, rather than simply exercising the body.
Agility, mobility, relaxed spontaneous movement, balance, structure, alignment, biomechanics, efficiency, ambidextrous body use, joint health, coordination, skill, emotional wellbeing or psychological flexibility.
Tai chi combines exercise with motor learning.

Youthful body

Think about the qualities associated with how a youth moves:

  1. Nimble

  2. Balanced

  3. Agile

  4. Light

  5. Mobile

  6. Coordinated

  7. Squatting easily

  8. Flexible

  9. Supple

  10. Fit

  11. Dynamic

  12. Spontaneous

  13. Changeable

  14. Strong

  15. Virile

  16. Stamina

  17. Dextrous

  18. Good poise

  19. Free

  20. No pain

It sounds a lot like tai chi... Will lifting weights accomplish this?

Better late than never?

A lot of people seek to exercise later in life. This is good. But not as good as exercising throughout your life. The later you leave it, the harder it will be, and the more limited the results.

People at birth
are soft and supple:
At death,
they are hard and stiff.

When plants are alive,
they are green and bending;
When they are dead,
they are dry and brittle.

Soft and bending is the way of the living;
Hard and brittle is the way of the dying.

a great strength
that is inflexible,
Will break in the wind
like an old dead tree.

So the arrogant and the unyielding
will fall;
And the humble and the yielding
will overcome

(Lao Tzu)


Aging and eventual death are unavoidable. Acceptance is irrelevant; we will die whether we accept it or not. Realising that there is nothing you can do about it is very important.
But you can live deliberately and consciously for as long as you are able to.

Relish every day

You can end the struggle and move with the flow. This will not remove your ailments but it will help you to live with what you have. Dreams of youth are an attempt to ignore reality. Why bother?
Enjoy your life. Make the best of what you have.

Live now

Eat sensibly, exercise and relax. Live a life of quality and dignity. Find joy in what is happening right now in your life and make every day count.

Tai chi rejuvenates

Cultivating a youthful mind and a youthful body are quite different to plastic surgery or dressing like a teenager. Tai chi is tangible.
It requires a lot of effort... and that alone may help you to live longer. The training is also concerned with re-energising the body.

Daily exercise

Dr Michael Greger (author of How Not To Die) recommends 90 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every day.
The three doctors who wrote The Okinawa Program maintain that tai chi - with its ancient origins and incredible health benefits - is the ideal form of exercise for modern people.

Worth reading


For Rachel
Page created 21 May 2007

Last updated 29 August 2018