Many years ago when I was a teenager I was walking in the Alps and felt embarrassed when a group of hikers came past me at a fast rate of knots. I was labouring my way up a steep gradient whilst they skipped past me with barely a hint of heavy breathing. What fascinated me about this incident was the fact that none of this spritely group appeared to under 80 years of age!
I wondered if they were all related and shared some sort of fitness gene but of course they probably weren’t. I have come to realise that it is possible to remain extremely active well into your twilight years but only if you keep at it and make the right lifestyle choices. Being a couch potato for most of the year and then trying to spring into action occasionally isn’t going to work.
Don’t Give Up
I am now over 50 myself and have no intention of giving up my active lifestyle. I still enjoy taking on those mountain hikes and have recently learnt to ski. There are people skiing well into their 90’s and I want to emulate them one day. I am disturbed by the number of people I see who are my age or even younger who appear to be on the slippery slope towards infirmity. Poor diet, a lack of physical activity and a general absence of any enthusiasm to get out and about send many of the middle aged into a spiral downwards from which they will probably never recover.
This is all so unnecessary. If you keep fit and active and eat sensibly your body will respond. The body is like a car. If you maintain it well, use it regularly and put the right things in it then it will keep running smoothly. If you park it on the drive and ignore it you will find that it won’t start let alone run you into town.
I know that people come up with a variety of excuses for their sedentary lifestyles. They will blame a lack of time, a lack of money and just about anything they can think of but the truth is that it all comes down to laziness. It doesn’t cost anything to go for a walk or a run and surely everyone can find 5 hours in the week to exercise. Overeating is an act of self-indulgence and a replacement for other forms of stimulation. The irony is that of you exercise and keep active in mind and body you won’t feel the desire to eat so much.
I can’t pretend that ageing doesn’t present a few issues, even if you are blessed with good health. No matter how careful you are there will be obstacles thrown in your path. Some aches and pains are inevitable, you do slow down and it is harder to learn new sports but that is no excuse for giving up. You can find ways around most of the problems and accept that you need more time to perfect things. In my case it is gout that causes most of my issues but by not overdoing things, wearing the right footwear and watching my diet I have mitigated the effects of the condition and I plough on, dodgy feet and all! I am reminded of a line from my favourite film The Shawshank Redemption. “Get busy living or get busy dying”. How true!
Article by Sally Stacey