“For your age” is like a health and fitness participation trophy

“You do that again, I’ll shoot you myself.”

 

Sergeant Taggart, to Detective Rosewood after his shout of “Police? You’re all under arrest!” draws a hail of machine gun fire.
Beverly Hills Cop (1984)

“For your age” seems like such damning praise.

I understand science establishing benchmarks and baselines. If you’re measuring something, there must be something to measure it against.

Wouldn’t the most meaningful comparison be the most… meaningful, though?

If the “average person” my age isn’t as active as I am–or they’re more active–then shrink the data set for relevance’s sake.

I’d rather rank lower due to a higher bar and let it fuel my motivation to improve than to top the leaderboard for an ill-fitting lifestyle.

For your age” started in my forties. And at first, I found it amusing.

I earned my second black belt at forty-two, and though I was well aware I neither healed nor recovered like I did in my twenties, I was enjoying strenuous one-and-a half- to two-hour martial arts workouts a few times a week. I also fit in some strength training.

And still, “for your age.”

“Old man, my a**.”

 

Marvin, after firing a shot that causes a rocket to detonate and backfire, killing the person who launched it right after referring to him as “old man”
Red (2010)

Now, I understand many doctors who don’t specialize in pediatrics see patients from different generations, some of whom aren’t active, much less actively pursuing health, fitness, and longevity goals.

I also understand many patients offer counterfeit assurances they’ll exercise, eat right, and take vitamins. Doctors have heard enough little white lies, half truths, and pure fiction to write a book.

And let’s face it, our healthcare system makes them walk on fire when it isn’t prohibiting them or questioning their judgment.

So, I can see where doctors may be a bit punch-drunk. Or jaded.

It may take more than a few interactions and tests to recognize an engaged patient and exit the “for your age” train.

Unless we make it easy for them.

When you hear, “Your blood work looks good for your age,” you could follow up with:

“Glad to hear it. I’m an (your preferred activity) enthusiast. Which areas might I improve to go from good to great, or maybe even excellent, so I can improve my overall health and performance?”

You may find it sparks a most meaningful conversation. Otherwise, letting the conversation end with “for your age” lumps you in with the masses.

To live your best life–longevity with excellent health–you need to set the appropriate baselines with your healthcare team.

So, make it easy for them. Speak up. Prove through your results you’re putting in the work.

Give them another success story to share.

And become a brand ambassador for your healthcare provider. Positive reinforcement through not just your words, but your actions: Refer patients to their practice.

Which appeals more to you: “for your age” or “age-defying”?

I thought so.

Now, get after it. Embody it.

And be sure to tell me about it. I’d love to feature your success story in a future newsletter.

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