“AGE” is a four letter word!

It’s 4:45 AM!
Time to get up and get to the gym.
It’s still dark…
The air is cold…
The bed is warm…
My shoulder is stiff from sleeping on my side.
I bring my arm out from under the covers to release my shoulder.
Good Golly – my hands feel a bit cramped as well.
I roll my wrists around and slowly stretch out my fingers.
Thank goodness we don’t have a mugger standing over our bed.
I’d have to tell him, “Hold on just one second.  I need a minute!”

Just as I roll my hands around, my head sinks into the pillow.
I think I’m ready to get up… just let me close my eyes for one more minute…

It’s 5:00 AM!
The second alarm has gone off on my iPhone.
I dosed back to sleep for what seemed like only a minute.
15 minutes!!!  HAVE to get up and get going!

I throw back the covers.  The air is still cold.  Ugh!
It’s still dark out and it’s… what do you know…
We’re in Portland, Oregon which means… it’s rainingagain.

As I stand to my feet, it takes a moment for my ankle and toe joints to open and release.
I feel my feet slowly spread open on the hard floor.
I slowly shuffle to the head the way my father used to shuffle in the mornings.
Shh-shh, shh-shh, shh-shh…
I’m inclined to think, “I must be getting older!”
Hard to believe because I certainly don’t “act” as mature as I’m suppose to “act”.
My life’s mission is to prove that immaturity is the secret to living long and feeling young.
So far… I’m not sure if it’s working.

I continue my shuffle to the bathroom.
It’s too dark to turn the light on… I feel for the lid..
Good… just the way I left it after the 2:00 AM call.

Everything seems to take a little longer these days… that’s all I’m going to say about “that”!
As I patiently “wait”, I find myself making throat-clearing noises similar to the noises I heard coming from the bathroom when my father was “in there”!
I’d walk by the John when my dad was “in there” and you’d swear someone was trying to jump start a diesel engine… while releasing the air-brakes at the same time.
What’s up with all the throat-clearing and grunting and groaning?
And NOW… here I am, feeling like dad, making all the noises of a Peterbilt…

Garth Brooks starts singing in my head, “I’m too young to be feeling this damn old!

I slowly get my act together, get dressed, throw down my pre-workout breakfast (different than the post-workout breakfast), brush my teeth, kiss my wife (in that order) and head on out the door.
As I walk to the gym, I don’t feel as old.  I feel good.  I do some routine stretches on the way – neck and shoulders.  My stride opens up and I feel “younger”.

So I have to wonder if the way I feel these days really has anything to do with my… “age“.

Ugh!  The “A-word”.
Don’t like to hear my clients use the “A-word”.
When it comes to our health and fitness, age IS a four letter word!!!

But I must challenge its use.  After 20+ years as fitness trainer, I have personally trained dozens of people over the age of 65.
My apologies to all of you over 65 if you feel offended that I chose your age as the benchmark for this conversation.
So why DID I choose 65?
65 is the age most often considered to be the end of our earning years.
Many people are giving serious consideration to retirement.
It’s also the age when we are generally considered to be a “senior citizen”.
And yet, I see plenty of individuals over the age of 65 who are active and lively!

As a matter of fact, I made a list of all the past clients and friends I can think of who were over 65 and living regularly active lifestyles.
Regularly active meaning that they exercised at least 3 times per week or participated in some form of activity such as golf, tennis or like my Aunt Janet (91) plays croquet.  In this list, I also include my client Harvey (83) and my good friend Al (89).  There are 24 other individuals who I can include on this list and the youngest is 66.

Here are my personal observations about their attitudes and outlooks:

  • They all have a consistently positive outlook on life.
  • They are all genuinely friendly and enjoy meeting new people.
  • While they have the resources to live bigger lifestyles or lived more lavish lifestyles at one time, they have all downsized their homes and cars to currently modest levels.
  • They are all Conservatives and vote Conservatively.  (Don’t take this to mean that Liberals don’t live as long as Conservatives.  And I most likely know a lot of older Conservatives since I am one and tend to gravitate toward people who share my ideology.  This is simply a personal observation of my network.)
  • They all have a faith in a higher power.  (This may simply be the same as “There are no atheists in fox holes.”  Does our faith increase as we get closer to dying?)

Here are my personal observations about their health and fitness:

  • They are all regularly active. (I already said this – they walk, golf, exercise, play croquet, do Tai Chi or some other form of physical activity multiple times each week.)
  • They’re gentle on their bodies.  They’re never trying to exceed their limits or prove anything.  They do as much as they need to do to stay fit.
  • They eat smaller portions.  They have just enough food to satiate their appetite and never seem to “stuff” themselves.  When I meet them for coffee, they only have “part” of something but never the whole thing.
  • None of them smoke.
  • They often talk about their doctor appointments which means, they see a doctor regularly.

This is obviously not a scientific study; just my personal and professional observations.
So what can we do to feel younger?

  • Drink more water – staying hydrated is essential to all of our tissues.  It is also one of the ways to keep unhealthy toxins flushed out of our tissues.
  • Get adequate sleep – it’s a fact that the human body needs 8 hours of rest everyday.
  • Eat clean, natural foods – not only essential for vitamins and nutrients, one of the best ways to keep toxins out of our tissues is to put in as few as possible.
  • Stretch – It is a myth that we “get stiffer as we get older”.  My mother could touch her toes at age 81 before she broke her hip.  She spent a good portion of her life as a dancer.  The truth is that we become less active which leads to a decreased range of motion.
  • Exercise – elevating our heart rates is essential to circulating our blood and more importantly, Oxygen which is vital to all of our bodily tissues.
  • Above all – THINK, FEEL and BELIEVE you are YOUNG!

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