th I reached my 61st year. Moving into the seventh decade of life definitely feels weird. My brain tells me I’m really just 25. My graying and thinning hair tells a different story. I’m pretty much in shape, probably could lose about 6 pounds. I can still take long, fast walks in Boston and I am a regular at Gold’s Gym. I seem to have inherited the tendency toward slightly high blood pressure. My doctor doesn’t like my numbers and is nagging me either to bring them down or go on medication (great motivation!).
I’m trying to get inspired by my good friend Mary Ellen. She’s a real maniac and proud of it. Though a few years my senior, she looks like my younger sister. She exercises and exercises hard. She’s really into perspiring; I can just see her speed skating around the frozen lakes of New Hampshire. So when I had the chance at my gym to get a free evaluation of my physical condition I took it.
Jessica at the gym put me through her paces. It didn’t take long for her (and me) to discover that I had no endurance. Despite the fact I can do 150 crunches and walk for miles without being winded, as soon as she pushed me, I was gasping for air…after only 15 minutes!
After all, I was always more of an academic than an athlete. I may look ten years younger than I am. I may avoid fast food and sodas. I eat my own home-cooked, low fat, high protein food and lots of fiber. But I the truth still hurt: I am out of shape and my body is headed toward decay rather than vigor.
According to demographics I will probably live another thirty years. I can choose now to live them like a young man or, with the aid of medications, like a slowly dying man. But first I have to raise my heart rate consistently every day and commit myself to a new standard of fitness. To motivate myself I went out on a financial limb and hired a personal trainer. David and I meet three times a month for a half hour. He teaches me exercises that strengthen my core and raise my heart rate.
We humans are remarkably stubborn and we Americans as a group are amazingly soft. We’ve gotten used to much more food than we need and too little of that good physical stress that keeps us young and healthy. I’m sharing my story in the hope that my readers will take something from my experience. My hope is that ten years from now I will be stronger and in better shape than I am presently. My motivation is to help others with the gifts I have been given to make their lives better. It must start with me, growing younger every day to have the stamina needed to finish my task.
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