OK, apologies to all those folks who are about my age and immediately got an Alphaville song caught in their heads based on the title of my post! I couldn’t resist. It seemed a fitting title though for musings on the need to try to keep the negative effects of aging at bay.
Years ago the (possibly infamous) quote from Groucho Marx stuck in my head ..”You’re only as old as the woman you feel”. While clearly tongue in cheek, I agree with the sentiment — to stay young at heart you need to surround yourself with youthfulness. Not necessarily a young woman — though that could be nice (hmmm?) — but more with the spiritual lightheartedness that comes with youth.
I try to live that youthfulness in my life. To stay “young at heart”… and I’ve got my boys to help remind me what that means. It’s not always easy. clearly with the responsibility to pay bills, put food on the table and a roof over heads I need to be an adult at times! But, especially when I’m with the boys, I do really try to model a life of fun. To play. And not to be too serious.
Being young at heart, though, isn’t enough. You also need to stay young in body. I ran across the photo embedded here the other day on facebook. And it hit me pretty hard. You look at the series of pictures and realize that staying in shape is a lifelong pursuit. And the end goal isn’t to be fast…. it’s to be slow… slowly dying – not quickly.
Don’t get me wrong… I don’t think everyone on the planet needs to be a triathlete (it would be awful to try to find parking at races!). But people should be striving to remain “fit”. And that doesn’t mean athletic. Just fit. Just sufficiently in shape that if they needed to get out of their house in a fire, they could. If they needed to chase a toddler who was aiming for a busy road – they could catch him/her. Fit enough that they won’t ultimately die of the many dozens of diseases that are increasingly inflicting North Americans (yes, fellow Canadians… we are becoming equally obese as our American cousins… so don’t be so smug and superior).
Clearly I have set a high bar for myself in this regard. Most sane people would not commit themselves to the life of a triathlete – let alone try to complete an Ironman. (Triathletes, who are themselves crazy think Ironman are insane. That just puts a fine point on it!). But after August 19th, I won’t just stop training. I will continue to keep myself active and “in shape”. Perhaps not to the degree I am now…. but I’ll maintain my daily regimen of exercise.
What about the “other 90%”. Well, frankly its easier than anyone thinks. At least to get the majority of the benefits of an active lifestyle it is. And that’s what’s important. Even if you don’t care what shape you are, whether you’ve got a “few extra” hanging about the waist or hips — we should all care whether we’re putting ourselves at risk of disease. And many of us are! Please watch this video. All of it. And start to think about how you CAN’T afford NOT to carve out 30 minutes a day.