Until I was 54 years old, my body experienced the slow progressive loss of functionality in all systems and organs that the scientists predict and we all expect to occur. Through moderate, steady state exercise, primarily running, I was able to somewhat slow that deterioration. But since then, over the past decade, the functionality of my skeletal muscle system has progressively improved. I am much stronger and fitter in my early 60s than I have ever been in my life. The other organs and systems in my body have shown commensurate dramatic and progressive improvement in functionality over the same time frame. I now function in all modalities better than I did 30+ years ago.
What, if anything, does that prove? Scientists say that loss of function and the aging process are the same thing. Does my experience prove that they are wrong?
Life scientists reject my experience out of hand. I could be lying. There is no control group. I was not selected randomly. How do we know my improvements weren’t the result of some factor other than intense physical activity? It’s just anecdotal. It’s just another anomaly. Humans are complicated.
Even if the scientists reject the significance of my experience, it is of critical importance to me. Let’s assume that you developed a brilliant theory that proved that interstellar travel is impossible. But suppose that I meet an extraterrestrial being. Regardless of how good your argument is, I would know that your hypothesis that interstellar travel is impossible is incorrect. Others could question my credibility. They could dismiss my observation, and continue to believe in the hypothesis. But if I knew that I did meet an extraterrestrial being, I could not continue to believe in your hypothesis.
I know how dramatic my improvement has been. So in my mind there is no hesitation as to whether the fitness people or the scientists are right. I know for a certainty that loss of function is purely the result of not doing a sufficient amount of the right type of exercise.
That does not mean that the reader needs to accept my assertions. I’m not going to try to sell you some miracle form of snake oil. I’m just explaining why I felt compelled to establish the Institute and develop the Hypothesis. The reason that I think my experience is significant is that it has allowed me to look at a number of things that we all take for granted from a different perspective.
That’s what the reader should do. Rather than questioning my credibility or thinking that my results are attributable to some form of snake oil, just accept my experience for the sake of argument. As noted above, my experience arguably proves nothing and plays no role in the logical arguments that comprise the Hypothesis. But in explaining the Hypothesis through this blog, it is useful to be able to refer to a hypothetical older person (me), who has not suffered loss of function with the passage of time.
By the way, my experience is by no means unique. Thousands of others are now seeing the same sorts of improvements. So one cannot merely dismiss my experience as an “anomaly.” At one time I thought that maybe I was the only person my age who could consistently improve year over year. But my results as compared to my contemporaries have shown that to be a false belief. Every year my absolute results improve. Every year my relative results (placement in fitness competitions as compared to others my age) are more disappointing. Other persons of similar age who engage in similar workout programs are improving as much or more than I am.
The Hypothesis does concur with the scientists’ theory that all chronic degenerative diseases (cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, dementia, etc.) are caused by loss of function over time, and that that all such losses of function, and thus all chronic degenerative diseases, have a single cause. Under that theory, improving function in one modality (such as skeletal muscle function) will result in improved function in all modalities. That’s why the promoters of snake oil that is supposed to “reverse aging” say things like “Imagine if older people could work out like they could when they were in their 30s.” Of course, thousands of us older people – people in our 50s and 60s, are already doing that. Without the snake oil.
I have been able to progressively improve the functioning of my skeletal muscle system over a period of almost a decade. Consistent with the scientists’ single cause theory, I believe that I also substantially improved functionality in a number of other systems over that time frame. As far as I can tell, most everything works perfectly now, and it didn’t a decade ago. I don’t believe that I “reversed aging.” My hair is still gray; my wisdom teeth didn’t grow back in. The only logical conclusion is that the progressive loss of functionality that is universally assumed to be an inevitable part of aging is avoidable and reversible. And if that is true then aging and the loss of function over time cannot be the same thing.