Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Longevity

Yesterday one of the young guys I work out with wanted to know when men start to see declining strength. An interesting question that. When pressed he decided that he wanted to know when men were old enough to not want to jump off a 10 foot high board into the water.

Hmmm - was he asking when men got smart enough to check how deep the water was before jumping, or was he asking when men became frightened they would break something if they jumped into deep water from 10 feet high. If the former, well, I’m not sure I’ve seen any evidence that men ever get smarter when it comes to responding to challenges. If he was asking about the latter - fear of breaking something - well, I guess it depends.

I decided to blog on this because of a couple of things I have seen and read over the last week. One was a discussion of blood pressure and its impact on our longevity. In case you don’t know it, high blood pressure (hypertension) kills. If interested, check out

 High Blood Pressure: Normal but Not Natural

But what got my attention was a question the author asked: "If it (high blood pressure) affects most of us when we get older, maybe it’s less a disease and more just a natural, inevitable consequence of getting older?"

Hmm, like getting fat and decrepit.  And being afraid to jump into a pool because we are in such bad shape we will likely hurt ourselves. 

The author goes on to point out: "We’ve known for nearly a century that high blood pressure need never occur." Again, just like getting fat and decrepit.

The other thing that made me want to write a bit on this was the comments of a couple of old men at the gym. Both are in their 60's, both look like they are hiding a basket ball (or a watermelon) under their shirts, both look like they are in their 70's, and both claimed they were going to live to be 100. Oh, and one of them claimed he was diabetic but he did nothing about it - hated doctors and tests.

Really? Seriously? Are you kidding me??? Live to be 100 even though your obesity opens you up to so many serious medical conditions???

Funny, both thought I was in my 40's.

Fitness, keepings ones weight and blood pressure down - these are things we work for - and things that allow us to age gracefully and avoid being decrepit. It’s each of our choices to stay fit, to work out, and to eat a healthy diet. I’m going to throw in stretching to the mix - without it, well, one spends way too much time with backs that are "out" and joints that get damaged.

One more observation and I will finish this posting. Another older gent at the gym, very heavy, loves to do "manly" workouts, like bench pressing and squats. It is truly sad to watch, in as much as he is just not healthy, but hates the idea of cardio workouts - like tread mills or stair steppers or bicycles. He is not alone - I watch a couple of other older gents, again, very over weight, but all they do is bench press, curl, all the classic exercises to build those upper arms. Even though they are easily 150 pounds over weight.

Sure, cardio alone is not enough, but it is what is required to loose weight. Well, that and not over eating.

My bottom line - as I explained to the lad who wanted to know when men get decrepit - I plan to continue to kick his butt on the gymnast rings for the next 10 years. After that, I can only plan to kick his butt on the rings for another 10 years. The alternative is to accept becoming decrepit. I will not accept that I will be weaker next year than I am now. And I am going to do what I can to keep that from happening.

I have to finish with a word of thanks to my wife, who is right there beside me (or in front of me all too often) in keeping fit and aging gracefully. Thank you Kelly for supporting me in this whole aging gracefully thing!





 

 

 
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