How I Beat the Aging Curve
And the simple way you can do it, too.
by Dr. Tim Cummings, DPT
We are meant to grow strong and age gracefully”-Gray Cook, Founder, Functional Movement Systems
I am 42 years old, married, a dad of 3 kids under 7 years of age, a doctor of physical therapy, a strength and conditioning coach, and a small business owner. You could say I’ve got more than enough reasons to let myself go physically. Lack of sleep as I helped my wife nurture and raise 3 infants over the past half-decade. The time commitment beyond the standard 40-hour work week that it takes to make a small business run successfully. A bevy of passive entertainment options when I'm dog tired from a day of working from sun up to sun down or chasing my kids throughout the day.
But this story is not about those excuses. No, this story is about how I discovered 4 simple approaches to reclaim my health, my relationships, and my professional career, and how those first principles of well being overflowed to empowering and life-changing results for my family, friends, and clients.
June 13, 2013
I had just finished working an 8-hour shift at a local hospital providing in-patient physical therapy for post-surgical and traumatic orthopedic injury patients. This was my weekend gig. I had an almost 1-year old son, a full-time job in an outpatient sports medicine physical therapy clinic, a mortgage and a mountain of student loan debt from 3 years of graduate school.
In general, my libido was in the tank. I trained (weight lifting, running, H.I.I.T.) 4-5 days-per-week. I didn’t go out to eat. I avoided processed food and stuck to heart-healthy meals just like the USDA food pyramid told me to. My cholesterol numbers were high but controlled with statin medication my primary care doctor had prescribed for me the previous year. I was constantly tired.
And then the bottom fell out.
I had a voicemail from my mother asking me to call ASAP. I called as soon as I got in my car. In less than a minute on the phone, I was reduced to tears. My mother had been diagnosed with Frontotemporal Dementia at age 62. There wasn’t (and still is not) a cure.
Less than 2 weeks later my wife had a miscarriage. Again, tears. These hurts I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
Yet somewhere in all this suffering, a voice inside my head insisted this wasn’t the end of the story. This wasn’t my fate. Amidst the suffering, there was a small light of hope.
And that light guided me towards a complete transformation in my thinking and my actions regarding how I managed my health, my family’s health, and the health of my patients.
What I found in 2013, and what I have been crafting since that time, is an integrated approach to diet, lifestyle, and exercise training that has fundamentally changed my own personal health, my wife’s, our children, and the health of 1,000’s of clients that we’ve worked with since.
Here’s the scoop. This isn’t one of those articles where you have to give your credit card number and a blood sample to find out the 12 things I did to make myself awesome. Here’s the straight dope on what years of personal research, experimentation, and implementation with countless other people made clear: there are fundamental elements that contribute to, in fact, constitute, a healthy body that will flip your expectations of what an aging body can do.
And what’s more, these things are not expensive, technically difficult to perform, or unsustainable in practice.
The Four Pillars
Eat real food
Move well, move often
Manage your stress
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, you’ve probably heard some discussion about all of these pillars of health. What we’ve discovered is a simple plan to implement these pillars into your life and a simple way to assess if these practices are helping you age well or age prematurely.
So What is VitalityPro?
Vitality Pro is the creation of Dr. Frank Merritt, MD, an emergency room physician, and doctor to some of the most elite athletes in the world.
VitalityPro has conducted original research in areas of health and performance. Furthermore, in a cooperative fashion, they critically and continually review and analyze the research data of various health disciplines. As a result, VitalityPro offers clients a non-biased and balanced pursuit of premium health and unequaled performance.
What first looked like a dichotomy, premium health versus premium performance, has been found to be mutually accommodating. In other words, top-level performance can’t exist without top-level health.
VitalityPro offers the Vitality Age Assessment. This dynamic assessment, unlike the more static yearly physical exam, looks at the categories of aerobic and pulmonary function, muscular strength and endurance, mobility, and body composition. As the client is guided through this interactive examination, their results are scientifically calculated into a health/physiologic age. We term this: “Vitality Age”. Vitality Ages range from 20 (best) to 80 (worst). The difference between one’s chronological age vs the vitality age is the key.
If the vitality age is older than the chronological age, the client is prematurely aging. Vitality Age results can be used to prompt medical tests, diagnosis, and treatments; start lifestyle modification such as a better diet and smoking cessation; and guide more focused training, such as pulmonary training. Repeat testing in 6-12 months should reveal improvement by a younger Vitality Age thus adding vitality years to the client's life via the above measures.
When I first talked with Dr. Merritt, what became instantly clear is that we were pushing in the same direction. We were tired of seeing people at the end of their health span-sick, tired, and broken. We felt compelled to do more. And that’s why we’ve partnered up to change the conversation, change outcomes, and change people’s lives.
So how did I score when I went through the Vitality Age Assessment? Not too bad. Having applied the research I’ve discovered over the last 5 years has put me in a place where I’m in better shape at 42 than I was at 22.
Check it out:
If you’re ready to dive in and start the journey towards restoring your best health, you can enter your information below.
What you’ll receive from us over the next two weeks are 4 simple primers to help you start to reclaim your health. Whether you are an elite athlete, an average Joe, or one struggling with a disease we hope that you’ll find strength and encouragement with the information we will provide and feel welcomed to partner up with us to live a more abundant life!