THE AGING PROCESS AND HAVING FUN WITH IT

The knees hurt. Life is changing but as many great and simple philosophers have said, “It is what it is”. So, do we give up? Many folks have said “My running days are over” when they feel that it’s time to move on to lower-impact workouts such as swimming, walking, weight training, treadmill, among the many to choose from to prolong the fitness’ well-being years. So what do we do at sixty or seventy years of age? Do we run for fun or cutback our training routines? Do we retire from racing or stop running altogether?

It is the old adage of “pay attention and listen to your body”. Can dynamic stretching or more intense weight training, or having a personal trainer, help prolong your running days? I say yes to all the above but for sure this is indigenous to us, the individuals. Meaning, pay attention to injuries. You can do this by researching, doing the trial and error method, or seeking professional opinions. The professionals can be doctors, sport medicine specialists, chiropractors, or whomever you feel is deemed fit to help.

As a sixty year old man, I run 45 minutes in the morning, 5 days a week, and running at a seven minute per mile pace, or less. I lift weights at home, 7 days a week, and my routine is indigenous to me and not the norm. I rarely race anymore but this is more a personal choice, and it’s certainly not to discourage anyone.

It seems some people think that the more running and racing they do, these become the magic bullets to youth, or their savior of sorts. Well we all understand, but you must respect the aging process. I have the body of a 30 year old in my humble opinion, ha ha, but look-wise, of a 60 year old. I have long lean muscles and am at my optimum weight, not a sag on my body from the neck down. But I do not have the same physical ability I had when I was 50 years old. Why, it just happens. One can use clichés but you know them all, about mother time.

I have a long-term acquaintance who was a champion runner and was 8th in the 1968 Marathon Olympics in Mexico City. He is now in his mid-seventies and runs every day and is not fit for running but addicted. He is in severe pain and hobbles when walking. He has not paid attention to nature and it is sad to see. All he needed was a good weight lifting routine and he could possibly have survived if he had a running routine of calculated distances with other smart changes for his advanced age.

Sport is play and running is our favorite sport. I am no expert and I only know what works for me. I have a very interesting variety of a diet which really sticks to laws that are non-traditional. I eat lightly all day long and much heavier night time. I eat pretty much what I want but avoid processed food and eat a highly nutritional diet for breakfast which would be more like someone’s lunch with an off-the-charts salad. I believe strongly in building the immune system, which again is indigenous to me. I have not been bed-ridden from illness for 36 years now. But one must balance the body and not ignore that building strength through weights or resistance exercise will allow us to do what we love to do with a passion, and that is our running.

So get smart and learn. Do not do crazy things like running a marathon unless at the age of 60 or 70 years of age, you are a rarity and the accomplishment for you outweighs the pounding, pain, and the aftermath. But who am I to judge? Although in my opinion, 5k or 10k seems much better, and at our advancing age we can enjoy them. If you must compete and be at the top of your age group, there’s nothing wrong with that. Make sure to have fun!

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