Standing on the 8th tee of a recent twilight golf event, Jimmy, a fireman six months from retirement , who has been caddying at the club for about 20 years, remarked that I was in good shape. That’s great. I thanked him and asked what he meant, not sure quite how he was able to get to this conclusion. Hey, he said, at your age, if you haven’t got a belly, you’re ahead of the game. Ahh!
I was immediately struck by the fact there could be some benefits to aging. Are we, on average, beginning to fall apart in our mid-fifties? Losing sight of our toes as we weigh ourselves; balancing the occasional attempt at physical exertion against the risk of a heart attack, torn ACL or other mileage-related physical ailment?
Look around you next time you go to Walmart. Review the number of diet emails that go into your spam folder. Look at the guys on the commercials – the kids on the commercials. Look at the parents carrying excess weight and the children with them. Are they genetic time bombs primed to go off in thirty years, or is this all avoidable?
I know this is a little obsessive. I agree. It’s one of the consequences of being a chubby kid, constantly feeling on the verge of gaining girth through lack of willpower or insufficient exercise. I know that some have a really hard time with weight; their best efforts sabotaged by a mysteriously slow metabolism. If you lose weight, you’re doomed to gain it back and more. Go paleo. Dump sugar. Avoid carbs. Peanuts only. Fruit and veg may not be as good as you think: hidden sugars; pesticides. It’s complicated.
Back to the benefits of aging. It’s not unreasonable to conclude that, if you’re focused on improving your overall fitness as you get into your 40s and 50s, you are going to have a huge advantage vs. your peer group. Go to your doctor and mention an ache or pain and dare to ask if there is anything you can do. Ehh! At your age, what do you expect. I am wondering why my knee gets a little swollen after two solid days of powder and bumps, some pickup basketball? Ehh. At your age, what do you expect? We could take a look, but honestly, what are we going to do? If you were in your twenties, maybe… This is not so original. Louis CK did a skit on this.
I am not sleeping so well. My IT band is tight. My lower back gets sore. My posture is bad. My hips are tight. My neck seems to be in a bad position. I feel tired when I wake up. Fill in the blank. Your mileage may differ. Injured myself at Pilates, Yoga, Crossfit.
So, for anyone that has an interest, my recommendation is a program called Turbulence Training or Home Workout Revolution. You can check out the whole background at www.earlytorise.com. www.turbulencetraining.com and www.homeworkoutrevolution.com are the specific sites. There is a lot of video and written content for $47 per program. Great value. All levels. I have been using it for about 3 years. Probably feel in the best shape ever – this from someone who spent 25 years running 30-50 miles a week, frequently sidelined by overuse injuries. 30 minutes, 3 days per week. I admit, I fill in the days in between – I told you I was obsessive.
Thanks to Jimmy for this post.