Age is completely irrelevant

I have recently been trying  to lose weight and get fit with an eye on the next 40 years of my life (currently 53). I wanted to bring down my BSL and my weight and raise my fitness so I could resume running after some decades of virtual inactivity.

I have been going OK with some weight loss and pretty regular running with my dog Bonnie. Today I was inspired to lose whatever age related negativity I had remaining when I read in The Age (Melbourne daily) of two 87 year old men who are riding in this year’s Great Victorian Bike Ride. This ride (Nov 27-Dec5 2010) is 9 days of  cycling over 590 kms. These two guys have ridden in this gruelling ride for the past few years and still find the determination and endurance to get ready for it and then do it each year.

If they can do it so can I. I can at least get out of bed more regularly and make a significant effort to get fit again. Maybe even run in a 5 or 10 km run next year. Or even get back in the saddle and ride in the Great Victorian Bike Ride again as I did once in my 30s.

They are an inspiration. Age is no longer relevant in limiting our thinking about what is possible. We know about greater fitness but we also know about brain plasticity. So as we age our brains are still able to produce new neurons and to make new connections between existing neurons. I can learn a new language. I can learn a new skill. I can get fit again.

Nothing is limited by my age. In fact my life experience makes me even better at knowing how to do these things in a more wise manner so I don’t go out and train too hard and tear muscles or injure myself at I might have once.

“I’m too old for that” is no longer a reasonable argument against taking up something new. If we don’t want to take up a new activity we should not blame it on age.

The Mind your Mind or Mind your Brain promotions of the Alzheimers associations in Australia UK and the US have all promoted brain health by eating well, exercising, keeping yourself mentally engaged with life and socialising well.

So I must get out there and take Bonnie for a walk. For her sake as well mine.

What are you doing for yourself to enjoy your life to the full for as long as possible? Tell us about it.

Age fit

My quest to be fit into my old age has continued over the past couple of weeks with almost daily walking and now (ta da!!) I am running for about 2 minutes at a time several times through my walks. Sounds so minuscule but it is really an effort at this beginning end of the process. I didn’t realise just how unfit my heart and lungs had become. I used to be able to run for hours without getting out of breath, but that is a dim memory.

However, I find it interesting to observe just how quickly my mind has become used to the renewed activity again. I look forward to getting out of bed at 6am and getting dressed for a walk with Bonnie my Border Collie dog. My body and brain are looking forward to the exercise now after about 4-5 weeks. Marvellous how the brain can adjust to a new habit given the regularity. There must have been an old area of the brain that was used for this function before and now I am reactivating it and it is claiming back the neurons for fitness and physical activity. My stride is more confident and sure, my hill walking is better. I used to plod up the hill through the bush near home but now I stride up at the end of the walk.

My little bit of running is such a hopeful sign for me. Mind you by running I mean a slow jog! Last week I actually felt like breaking into a run during my walk and I thought, “I haven’t felt like this for a long time”. So this week a few short 2 minute runs. I am running a bit knock-kneed but I know from previous experience that if I stick at it for a few days I will get hte old fluency back and begin to run in a more even fluid way that feels just great.

This next week I want to begin changing my diet so I can start reducing the weight I have put on over the past 15 years. Little by little. I am beginning with cutting down on the bread and fats in spreads. lets see what difference that makes. More in a week.

Happy age fitness!


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