Thursday, October 4, 2012

Happiness

I began this series of posts over a year ago because I wanted to share my approach to getting old, and to talk about some of the things that make me happy - some of the ways I have found happiness. Then I got distracted with a rather extensive remodel - and with working out, and fixing clocks, and keeping up the yard, and holding contractors’ feet to the fire in an effort to get quality work done.

Good news is that I have been finding a lot of subjects to write about, and it is about time I got started again. Other good news is that I can usually fix the problems that contractors create - but that takes time.

So, back to happiness. If you are over 40, think about how you would feel if you just finished a 3 hour plus workout with 3 guys in their 20's, and left them bushed. Fatigued. Moving slowly. Wiped. One of these guys worked out with me on Tuesday, on the gymnasts rings, and told me on Wednesday that everything from his chest up hurt, including his arms.

Think about it. And, then think about the fact that you did more reps of pretty much every exercise, and had the chance to coach 3 very fit young men. And are not sore from the work outs.

Perhaps I am making too much out of this - how good it feels to be the older guy who sets the pace. Or perhaps it just really means something to this old guy when he hears one of the regulars in the group commenting to a new guy - “He’s just so darned strong”. That particular time I turned around to see who they were talking about. There was no one behind me. Huh.

A bit ago one of the folk who read this blog commented “Nice to see a blog that encourages a fit lifestyle into the retirement years”. Thank you Whit. So, what is it worth to be able to work out with 20 year olds? To look not just good, but to look ripped in a T-shirt?

Speaking of T-shirts - saw one the other day that got my attention: “I’m not fat - I’m American”. And, unfortunately, given that two out of every three of the good folk in the US are overweight - well, the T-shirt is, in one way, telling it like it is. The shirt could have also said “I’m Diabetes waiting to happen”, or perhaps “One step from a stroke”, or, well you get my point (hopefully). Especially when one realizes that heart disease and diabetes are the two biggest killers in the US, besides being more common in the US than in the rest of the world.

Made me wonder - if an “American” is, statistically speaking, an overweight diabetic with heart disease - what does that make me?

For a while I entertained the idea of teaching a work-out class at the gym - focused on core and balance work for people over 50. The last 6 months has pretty much convinced me that this is not such a great idea. Problem is that I really, really like working out with people who are really, really fit. And, given the things I want to do outside of the gym, I really don’t have time to teach a class that is not focused on a pretty serious workout. But, I have started holding a 20 to 30 minute stretching session each day - and am seeing several of the older folk (at 58, this means people over 65) who really appreciate what I am doing. And, hey, I need to stretch at least once each day. Perhaps I need to approach the gym manager and see if I can interest them in such a class - more formalized - to give me a chance to help the older folk make some progress. In truth, I do want to do what I can to help people age gracefully - and, hmmm, when I am 80, perhaps I will then want to teach a balance and core class for 50 and older folk. But right now I am having way too much fun getting more fit and “younger” each year.

Another change in my “group” at the gym is the addition of a mid-30 gent who is extremely fit, and developing his fascination with gymnastic moves. So, in addition to the balance and core work, we are now adding in more challenging things, handstands and the like.

Then there is Mark - 54 - he has been working out with me for a while now. He is getting stronger - stronger than me in some areas, and definitely stronger than many of the young guys. AND HE IS LOVING IT!

Ageing gracefully. Having fun. 3 hour workouts. Is it for everyone - my answer is a simple “YES” writ large. Another rule I recently came up with: “If you watch tv for more hours each week than you work out - you have your priorities wrong.” I suppose I could add “Dead wrong”, but perhaps that would be a bit overly dramatic. Or, perhaps not.

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