I don’t know if people can see these. One which I’ve noticed in recent years is an insight I only get because of the high frequency I get to evaluate certain clients. In that external evaluation performed at high frequency, I can pickup trends which the clients’ medical doctors and people in their personal lives miss.
For example, I have a client who underwent a heart surgery in December. After she graduated from physical therapy, she returned to our appointments. Nothing was unexpected. And she had clearly improved since the three times we visited her at the hospital and therapy. However, about two weeks later her performance across several movements “spontaneously” worsened. ONLY I would be able to see this. I asked her to check with her doctor, as I suspected TIA. When she went to the clinic the following week, her inquiry was shrugged off because she was doing rather well for a woman in her 70s who’d underwent heart surgery. And see: that’s the problem. The clinicians were assessing her based on her age, her condition, and even against personal prior lab levels. They didn’t get to see that she had RELATIVE to her own ability worsened dramatically in the course of a week.
Long story short, after advocating for her for two more weeks, finally experts agreed she’d had a stroke or strokes and/or TIAs.
Likewise, with another client of mine, he had a really meteoric rise in health and fitness when we met three days per week. He did a lot of activity outside of those appointments to boot. He was religious about it. But then, life changed. And in the past two years he’s had some major interruptions to his consistency. Some due to sickness. Some due to travel and events. But I can see a rapid downward trend since the religiosity broke. Unfortunately, his clinicians and people in his personal life (even he) chalk it up to his age and condition. It’s only been two years people. Why did he improve so rapidly up until two years ago, and then when the consistency declined he rapidly worsened since?
I have thousands of these stories. Some were peers. Some were the clients of my employees. Some were just regulars at gyms where I worked. My life is health and fitness analysis, every single day. So I’m tuned into trends for which most people haven’t any focus. In the infrequent moments they pause to look at their health or fitness status, most will attribute it to age or situation, not choices. I don’t dismiss age and situation as PART of the equation. I just know that BECAUSE those are givens, we have to choose to work even harder to counter balance against them.
The fundamental issue is that you are getting weaker and losing lean tissue every day. Every year after age 20-24, your body is losing a pound of bone/tendon/muscle/ligament and replacing it with at least an extra pound of fat. This is a given. We can’t wish it away.
So when we replace intense activity with walking, we opt in for worsening health. When we take a pass on lifting weights, we are praying to get fatter and weaker. When we skip sprints because “I’m too old for that,” the causal relationship is reversed. You get old BECAUSE you skip sprints. You chose to get worse, actively. It’s nothing about which to feel guilt. People get busy. People get on with life. People get distracted. People get confused. But we can’t forget that there was a daily freewill selection of “don’t improve.”
And the more the genetic or environmental factors are stacked against you, the more you’ll have to work against them. Forgoing the effort to protect yourself will result in a defenseless position. It’s slow and sneaky. But it’s happening right now.
And there’s a good chance you can’t even see the long term trend.