I turn 64 this May. My wife is 54. That 10-year age difference is massive when it comes to feeling the effects of aging. She tries to understand it when I explain how I’m feeling. But how could she completely understand it? It’s like trying to understand what peanut butter tastes like if you’ve never tasted it. She’ll know what I’m talking about when she hits 60. But for now, it’s just between us 60+ year-olds. So, I ask the question, “Is getting in shape after 60 a losing battle?”
I am a big proponent of working out and being in shape. No doubt. I work out 5 or 6 days a week, only taking a day off after a very long bike ride or strenuous run the day before. But it has gotten much tougher to be disciplined and not take a day off. I mean I’m not training for an event. I just want to stay in shape. So, what’s the harm with sitting out a day?
To be completely candid, there have been times when I took a month or so off. Around the holidays this past winter I got something called Grover’s disease. I was breaking out and itchy all over. Perspiration makes Grover’s worse, so I took some time off. Then, of course, it was time to start up again. And, as you might already know, getting in shape after 60 is way harder than it used to be. It was like I was starting from ground zero.
Why Go Through All This?
So, I ask myself, “why go through all this?” Why do I need to be in shape anyway? I could just eat healthy and maybe go for walks now and again. That’s what many 60-plus year-olds do. The fact is though, that my metabolism and body type don’t do well with just eating healthy and walking. I can gain 20 pounds in a month if I am not burning a lot of calories. And, I really despise the way I look with belly fat and love handles. Call me vain. I guess that I am.
And, I do not like feeling less than strong. I had major surgery in late 2017 to remove a kidney and a mass surrounding it. I’m cancer-free now. But the 6-week recovery after the surgery led to every muscle in my body atrophying so bad that I looked 80, not 60. I was very weak. Lifting more than 10 pounds was a challenge. Before that surgery and since it’s been very important to me to feel strong. I want strong legs, a strong back, and strong arms. The bottom line is that I am not yet ready to feel old.
So, maybe like you, I’m fighting a battle with aging. Or, at least the effects of aging on the shape of my body and how strong I like to feel. So, I’ve asked myself many times if getting in shape after 60 is a losing battle. It may seem that it is because it gets tougher as time goes on to stay motivated to do it and go through the soreness working out sometimes causes.
It's About Winning Battles Every Day
But the answer I come back with every time I ask myself that question is that it is not a losing battle. It’s winning battles every day. Winning the battle to have a healthy heart and better than normal blood pressure. Another battle won is maintaining a healthy immune system. Another one is avoiding osteoporosis and having strong bones.
I win the battle to be able to go for 30-mile bike rides with my younger wife. I win the battle to be able to have a few cocktails now and again and not gain weight or otherwise feel the negative effects of drinking. A big battle won, especially when you have a younger wife, is performing in the bedroom like a champ. Because that’s all about blood flow. When you’re in shape blood flows pretty darn good.
While getting in shape after 60 we win these battles and more every day. Having said all that I know that someday I’ll stop winning one of these battles. Then maybe another. And, eventually, like every human in history, I’ll lose the war with getting old and I will die. But until that happens, I will win as many battles as I can. And, hopefully, I will inspire others to do the same. Because the alternative is to lose battles. To look and feel old before you need to. Not me! How about you?