YUCK! you say?  I can’t blame you, however there are some important considerations about exercise since most of us can’t recall our last marathon,  well maybe the new grandparents can, but I am just two months away from  my 65th and I don’t choose to be a poster child for old folks running 26 miles.

Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul Books Co-Author) tells the story of a 95 year old banquet waiter in one of the halls that Mark was going to speak in.  He thought it would be good to include some local folks in his presentation so he struck up a conversation with this gentleman.  He said the guy looked to be pretty spry and in good shape so Mark ask him what one piece of wisdom about life could he share.  the old gentleman said “Oh that is easy, If I knew I was going to live this long I would have taken better care of this body”.

When talking about grandparents that is good advice for all of us.  I, for one, have taken that pearl of wisdom to heart and I started training 3 months ago.  I wouldn’t blame you if you ask what a 65 year old that refuses to be the old folks poster child could be training for.  Well I am heading that gentleman’s advice, I am training for old age.

Tip #1)    Include your doctor, or doctors in this plan.  It had been many years since I had exercised to any degree and  even though I am pretty healthy otherwise, I have had a heart stint installed so I wanted to get some advice.  the good news for me was that he said I should have some fun with this new venture.

Tip #2)  Start Slooooooooooow.  That was the additional advice he gave me.  If I wasn’t so old I would probably be embarrassed to admit this but here goes.  I started with 5 sit-ups,  4 push-ups and walking 1/4 mile.  Now I can proudly report that I do  2 sets of 20 sit-ups, two sets of 20 push-ups and walk 4-5 miles 6 days a week.  When I say walk, I should say WALK.  I have just broken the 15 minute mile.  For those that walk you will recognize that as a raised heart rate and sweaty all over pace.  It takes about an hour but I no longer dread it since my muscles don’t complain that much anymore.

Tip #3)  Stretching is essential.  I have mentioned I work with a friend at a gymnasium and the coaches require every student to stretch thoroughly before they begin training.  Important!!

Tip #4)  Find a friend to exercise with if you can.  If you can’t get someone as enthusiastic as you or equally as important someone who matches your rate of speed when walking then do the next best thing.  Take your MP-3  and load it up with some music, programming or learning sessions, grab your ear buds  and strike out.  You will learn while you lean.

Tip #5)  Keep track of your progress and celebrate your accomplishments.  I would advise two caveats here.  First, be careful about bragging in advance, some of this is hard work and second, keep in mind that your rewards don’t have to include so many calories that it sets you back to where you were when you started.

Everybody and every body is different so just use your common sense.  If you have lived this long you should be able to recognize the difference between your body warning you and that sneaky little voice of rationalization that wants to quit early, especially in the early days of your training.  The character trait that will pay the greatest benefit is Perseverance.

I truly feel better than I did in my late thirties.  I have been able to cut most of my medicine in half and my medical numbers have caused my cardiologist to say that he is really proud of what I am doing to make his work look good.  


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