Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ten years later

When I was 49, shortly after my birthday, I was in the best physical shape I had been in since my military days. I'm not much of an exercise person per se, just enough to stay fit. Partly because I discovered I don't have fast twitch muscles to build strength and my metabolism doesn't allow prolonged activity such as running or hiking. At 49 I peaked at running 4-5 miles 3-4 days a week with once a week weight training.

And then the proverbial bottom fell out at work, they added additional work on unrealistic deadline, and my fitness fell along with it. I ended up in six months later 20 pounds heavier losing all the fitness I had spent the previous 3 years working hard to achieve. By my 50th birthday I was back to about half the running and nearly the same weight training, but not the same anymore.

At that time I made the promise to get better every year and evaluate my progress every birthday, and see if I can get back to the same level of fitness (and health associated with that fitness) as I was at 49. And you can guess the results, and while I found I didn't gain much ground I didn't lose ground either. I was ever so slowly getting better.

Until my 57th birthday when I started losing. And now at my 59th birthday? Well, I didn't lose but I haven't gained either.

I remember reading a story with Alan Page, one of the famous Minnesota Vikings defensive players during their heyday. He said he quit football in his 40's when he discovered it took more energy and time to keep the same level of strength and fitness the year before. And experts have said after 50 the best you can do is slow the decline of your body, fitness and health.

And so for my 59th birthday I'm trying to make the promise I made at 49, to be better by my next (now 60th) birthday and ever so slowly get better, or at least not get worse. Or so that's the new plan. I have no ideas anymore if that is realistic, let alone possible, but considering the alternative, it's better than them.

As for progress, I'll keep you posted.

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