I don’t feel old. Well, sometimes I do. I mean, I’m 52 and some would call that old. I was watching a movie last night and saw a spry 93 year old Earnest Borgnine (he died at 95). So I’m only a little over half-way to his age.
See below for some youthful activities to try
The key for me has been learning and trying new things. There was a day when I turned 32. I had always been an above average runner. As an Army Drill Instructor, I could pretty much run them into the ground. However, when I was a senior Drill, I was running up this steep hill at the end of a run in formation. It was a hot, muggy morning in Fort Benning, Georgia USA with the thick smell of pine in the air. I didn’t feel bad up to that point. I was toward the front of the formation and my legs started to feel like someone filled my legs with liquid concrete. I started falling back and I was yelling encouragement to the troops as I moved to the back of the formation. I’m sure they saw the weakness in my face. I dropped back to a few troops who had fallen back and tried to push them ahead, while pushing myself as well. I realized, hmmm, I’m getting too old for this.
Shift forward a year or two, after nearly getting hit by cars while running, I swore off roads and turned to trail running. So if you’re in the know, trail running turns into adventure running, fastpacking, and eventually ultra-marathons. That’s where I went. My long runs on Saturdays were at least 6 hours at a time. When I travelled for work, I ran sections of some of the major 100 mile races with the intent of some day running them (Umstead, Leadville, HURT Hawaii, Wasatch Utah, Appalachian Trail,…) I even paced someone for 50 miles in the Western States 100 mile race. There were lots of older folks than me running these races, so I saw longevity in what I was doing. The only problem, as an amateur powerlifter, I felt my strength eroding. I was getting weaker and then my back gave way. A degenerative disk in my back slowed me down a lot. And then a blown calf muscle ended my running for years. I still haven’t gotten back on track yet. Oldness set in again.
This morning, as I hobbled to my truck to go to work, I don’t feel the least bit old. I’m sore, but I feel strong and healthy. I’m lifting heavier, going longer in my workouts, and have an intensity I’ve never seen before. I blame most of my success on practicing and teaching yoga. It keeps me young and pliable no matter what I do. If you are just a lifter or just a runner, you can easily feel old. You are not at 100%. You lack in some area. Its through CrossFit that I found how variety and combining what I do adds to a better quality of life. And quality of life is the key to living a full life.
I would encourage you to play as much as you can. If you are old, it doesn’t matter what people think of you anymore. So just do it. Don’t worry about it. I think people give you some grace if you are an old dude anyway. If you walk around with black socks in sandals, nobody even looks twice at you. You’re old! Haha! And if you’re young, you’ll get there some day. Don’t be afraid to try things that will help you live a long life. These are some of the hobbies that have kept me young:
- pole dancing
- Olympic weightlifting
- Martial arts like Aikido, Karate, Tai-Chi
- Fly fishing
- Slack lining
- Skiing or ski-erging
- Aerial silks & swings