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Old 02-07-2017, 05:46 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,726,438 times
Reputation: 32304

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A person in his 40's or even 50's might be able to take a few years off from regular physical activity and bounce back fairly quickly upon resumption. But I am the poster boy for what not to do, namely taking a few years off from age 69 to 72. I had been in pretty fair shape up to about age 69, at which point I got lazy - no decision, no medical reason - I just stopped systematic work-outs. Sure, I kept walking to various errands and I kept lugging around extention ladders when doing outdoor painting, but that type of activity (while it's good for us and is so much better than nothing) is simply not enough.

I know what you must be thinking: What I did was close to the stupidest thing a person can do, as it constitutes being horribly negligent about one's own health and well-being. Well, there is no need for you to post those thoughts because I am painfully aware of the reality and I plead guilty on all counts. Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. Nor was it ignorance on my part; at various times in my life I have done extensive technical reading on exercise physiology and the health benefits of the various types of exercise - cardio-vascular (aerobics), resistance training (weights), balance and flexibility.

I had a dramatic wake-up call about a year ago. There is an art house cinema about four miles from me; occasionally I would walk there, see a film, and walk home. After a year or two not having done that, I walked there one day and watched the film. Then after the film I noticed there was something wrong with one knee, so I took a bus which dropped me about a mile from my house. I barely managed to walk home on the painful knee, even stopping to rest. No, it wasn't a knee problem in the medical sense - it was disuse! Use it or lose it! The knee hasn't bothered me since, but I stopped trying to walk that far and I'm now ready to resume (see below).

On January 1 (2017) I decided it was then or never if I wanted to get my life back. (I was/am 72). So that was my New Year's resolution - to prepare for an elementary school jog-a-thon on February 24. Not much time but I decided to give it a serious shot. I did some very slow jogging around the neighborhood for the absurdly short amounts of time I could manage it (like 10 minutes!) for a few days in a row, then went to the gym. The first day at the gym I walked on the treadmill for 10 minutes at 4.7 mph to warm up, then set it for a slow run (5.8 mph). I only lasted two and a half minutes! Pathetic beyond words to describe it!

But I kept showing up three or four days a week. Here are the number of minutes I was able to run slowly (5.8) at each session on the treadmill: 2.5, 3, 3, 4, 5, 4, 5, 5.5, 6, 7, 6, 6, 8, 8, 10, 11. The eleven minutes was yesterday, and I have done some running at 5.9 and 6.0 mph, the latter pace being a 10-minute mile pace. The progress, alhough slow, has been its own reward and motivation. The worst thing would have been to get discouraged and quit! I knew it would be very slow at my age, especially starting from a point of essecentially zero fitness.

Guess what? I am going to participate in that jog-a-thon on February 24 with the fifth graders to whom I read aloud once a week. It doesn't matter how well or how poorly I fare in comparison to them. It will be fun, and I wlll regard it as a beginning point, not an end point, to regaining my fitness. I already feel better in general!

Don't be like me. Don't let yourself go in the first place! Almost nothing in life is more important than this. We can acquiesce in being crippled or we can do something about it. (Like my knee, for example). I am diabetic, so this is even more important in my personal case.
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Old 02-07-2017, 06:10 PM
 
25,972 posts, read 32,970,649 times
Reputation: 32158
I started running when I was 27 - quit smoking that same year. Joined a gym that same year too.

That was over 30 years ago. There's been many days when I was in the gym 3 times a day. (I have worked out at lunch for many years). I would go do a lunch cardio workout, then do my weights after work, and then head home to find out my son (before he had a license) wanted to work out that night...so off we would go. After so many years, it's a normal part of my day. And it's an enormous benefit for me, as a homeowner, to keep myself strong. I can haul bags of cement or mulch, work in the yard all day long...and survive it.
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Old 02-07-2017, 06:19 PM
 
6,988 posts, read 6,981,700 times
Reputation: 5798
Quote:
Originally Posted by Escort Rider View Post
A person in his 40's or even 50's might be able to take a few years off from regular physical activity and bounce back fairly quickly upon resumption. But I am the poster boy for what not to do, namely taking a few years off from age 69 to 72. I had been in pretty fair shape up to about age 69, at which point I got lazy - no decision, no medical reason - I just stopped systematic work-outs. Sure, I kept walking to various errands and I kept lugging around extention ladders when doing outdoor painting, but that type of activity (while it's good for us and is so much better than nothing) is simply not enough.

I know what you must be thinking: What I did was close to the stupidest thing a person can do, as it constitutes being horribly negligent about one's own health and well-being. Well, there is no need for you to post those thoughts because I am painfully aware of the reality and I plead guilty on all counts. Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. Nor was it ignorance on my part; at various times in my life I have done extensive technical reading on exercise physiology and the health benefits of the various types of exercise - cardio-vascular (aerobics), resistance training (weights), balance and flexibility.

I had a dramatic wake-up call about a year ago. There is an art house cinema about four miles from me; occasionally I would walk there, see a film, and walk home. After a year or two not having done that, I walked there one day and watched the film. Then after the film I noticed there was something wrong with one knee, so I took a bus which dropped me about a mile from my house. I barely managed to walk home on the painful knee, even stopping to rest. No, it wasn't a knee problem in the medical sense - it was disuse! Use it or lose it! The knee hasn't bothered me since, but I stopped trying to walk that far and I'm now ready to resume (see below).

On January 1 (2017) I decided it was then or never if I wanted to get my life back. (I was/am 72). So that was my New Year's resolution - to prepare for an elementary school jog-a-thon on February 24. Not much time but I decided to give it a serious shot. I did some very slow jogging around the neighborhood for the absurdly short amounts of time I could manage it (like 10 minutes!) for a few days in a row, then went to the gym. The first day at the gym I walked on the treadmill for 10 minutes at 4.7 mph to warm up, then set it for a slow run (5.8 mph). I only lasted two and a half minutes! Pathetic beyond words to describe it!

But I kept showing up three or four days a week. Here are the number of minutes I was able to run slowly (5.8) at each session on the treadmill: 2.5, 3, 3, 4, 5, 4, 5, 5.5, 6, 7, 6, 6, 8, 8, 10, 11. The eleven minutes was yesterday, and I have done some running at 5.9 and 6.0 mph, the latter pace being a 10-minute mile pace. The progress, alhough slow, has been its own reward and motivation. The worst thing would have been to get discouraged and quit! I knew it would be very slow at my age, especially starting from a point of essecentially zero fitness.

Guess what? I am going to participate in that jog-a-thon on February 24 with the fifth graders to whom I read aloud once a week. It doesn't matter how well or how poorly I fare in comparison to them. It will be fun, and I wlll regard it as a beginning point, not an end point, to regaining my fitness. I already feel better in general!

Don't be like me. Don't let yourself go in the first place! Almost nothing in life is more important than this. We can acquiesce in being crippled or we can do something about it. (Like my knee, for example). I am diabetic, so this is even more important in my personal case.
Thank you for the pep talk. I walk but not every day. (I forget to go. Bad, bad... I'm going to be better tomorrow!)
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Old 02-07-2017, 06:20 PM
 
249 posts, read 196,866 times
Reputation: 492
ER - good important message! Fitness is something we can control, giving us better quality of life we how ever many years we have on this earth.
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Old 02-07-2017, 06:21 PM
 
Location: Idaho
4,621 posts, read 4,458,547 times
Reputation: 9035
I'm there too. With me, the change in physical activity is more mental than otherwise. On one of the weekends that bracket my birthday, I take my "birthday ride". On that ride, I endeavor to ride twice my age in miles and triple my age in kilometers. A couple of years ago, that meant that my birthday ride would be 124 miles.

Planned out what I thought was an easy route, starting in San Bernardino and taking SART, (the Santa Ana River Trail), down to Huntington Beach and back. Fairly flat, but with a gentle gradient down to the ocean, then the reverse back up, but with the ocean breeze behind me to act as an assist.

As normal, I awoke that morning, dilly dallied around getting the bike ready and loaded up, getting myself ready, and driving from the Antelope Valley to the start. And as usual, I didn't hit the trail until about 11:00 in the morning! "Ah, no worries. It's August and the days are long." SART is not one, unbroken bike path the whole way. It stops at the north end of Corona/Norco and picks up on the other end.

I took a slightly different route this time through Norco. For those who don't know Norco, it is a horse town in the middle of the Los Angeles megalopolis. They like their horses . . . and hate bicycles. And, they let you know it too! Very aggressive drivers, with no regard for the safety of cyclists. Also, the roads through Norco are horrible. One dare not take their eyes off the tarmac lest they hit a pothole and get a flat.

But I made it through okay. 'Motored' on to the beach where I took about a half hour break eating lunch and chatting with another cyclist. Then I headed back toward the start point and my car. But after about an hour or so, I noticed something very disturbing. I realized that I was making more and more stops and taking longer and longer at each one. But I had to keep going. Wasn't worried about the dark because I had my lights with me.

However, as I was approaching Corona/Norco and the sun started fading into the West, I started thinking to myself, remembering earlier in the day, "Do I really want to ride through Norco in the dark?" I concluded that I didn't, and made the "Call of Shame". I called my best friend, Jane, and asked her to come and pick me up.

I was devastated! There is an actual cycling term for what I was experiencing. It is called "bonking". I had run through my ready glycogen stores and was making a greater demand on my body than it could convert fat to energy. If you wait too long, eating doesn't help. It takes time to convert food into energy and once you bonk . . . you're done for several hours if not the day. This also came at the end of a very intense summer where I was involved in a corporate challenge to see which company could rack up the most mileage. Competing against other NASA centers, I had to do my part, right?

I had made right at 100 miles that day. The next morning, I got out and rode another 24 miles in the local area, so I consider that a "win". I got my birthday mileage in within a 24-hour period. (Since that day, all my birthday rides have been measured over a 24-hour period.)

But, something snapped inside me that day. In all my life, I never had to make the "Call of Shame" before. Since that day, my mileage has fallen drastically and I can really feel the loss of fitness. Used to be able to walk up from my lab on the second floor to the management offices on the fifth floor just fine. Now? I can hardly do it without being out of breath.

Only have a few more weeks before the official retirement and I am totally expecting to kick my mileage up once I don't have to get into the Lab on a daily basis. This upcoming spring/summer will be spent in regaining a respectable level of fitness again. Eagerly anticipating the clocks changing for Daylight Savings Time.

I sure hope you're wrong on this one, ER. The grand plan is to make a cross-country ride in the summer of '18. I'm not giving up!


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Old 02-07-2017, 06:21 PM
 
Location: Formerly Pleasanton Ca, now in Marietta Ga
5,440 posts, read 4,083,759 times
Reputation: 7257
Quote:
Originally Posted by Escort Rider View Post
A person in his 40's or even 50's might be able to take a few years off from regular physical activity and bounce back fairly quickly upon resumption. But I am the poster boy for what not to do, namely taking a few years off from age 69 to 72. I had been in pretty fair shape up to about age 69, at which point I got lazy - no decision, no medical reason - I just stopped systematic work-outs. Sure, I kept walking to various errands and I kept lugging around extention ladders when doing outdoor painting, but that type of activity (while it's good for us and is so much better than nothing) is simply not enough.

I know what you must be thinking: What I did was close to the stupidest thing a person can do, as it constitutes being horribly negligent about one's own health and well-being. Well, there is no need for you to post those thoughts because I am painfully aware of the reality and I plead guilty on all counts. Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. Nor was it ignorance on my part; at various times in my life I have done extensive technical reading on exercise physiology and the health benefits of the various types of exercise - cardio-vascular (aerobics), resistance training (weights), balance and flexibility.

I had a dramatic wake-up call about a year ago. There is an art house cinema about four miles from me; occasionally I would walk there, see a film, and walk home. After a year or two not having done that, I walked there one day and watched the film. Then after the film I noticed there was something wrong with one knee, so I took a bus which dropped me about a mile from my house. I barely managed to walk home on the painful knee, even stopping to rest. No, it wasn't a knee problem in the medical sense - it was disuse! Use it or lose it! The knee hasn't bothered me since, but I stopped trying to walk that far and I'm now ready to resume (see below).

On January 1 (2017) I decided it was then or never if I wanted to get my life back. (I was/am 72). So that was my New Year's resolution - to prepare for an elementary school jog-a-thon on February 24. Not much time but I decided to give it a serious shot. I did some very slow jogging around the neighborhood for the absurdly short amounts of time I could manage it (like 10 minutes!) for a few days in a row, then went to the gym. The first day at the gym I walked on the treadmill for 10 minutes at 4.7 mph to warm up, then set it for a slow run (5.8 mph). I only lasted two and a half minutes! Pathetic beyond words to describe it!

But I kept showing up three or four days a week. Here are the number of minutes I was able to run slowly (5.8) at each session on the treadmill: 2.5, 3, 3, 4, 5, 4, 5, 5.5, 6, 7, 6, 6, 8, 8, 10, 11. The eleven minutes was yesterday, and I have done some running at 5.9 and 6.0 mph, the latter pace being a 10-minute mile pace. The progress, alhough slow, has been its own reward and motivation. The worst thing would have been to get discouraged and quit! I knew it would be very slow at my age, especially starting from a point of essecentially zero fitness.

Guess what? I am going to participate in that jog-a-thon on February 24 with the fifth graders to whom I read aloud once a week. It doesn't matter how well or how poorly I fare in comparison to them. It will be fun, and I wlll regard it as a beginning point, not an end point, to regaining my fitness. I already feel better in general!

Don't be like me. Don't let yourself go in the first place! Almost nothing in life is more important than this. We can acquiesce in being crippled or we can do something about it. (Like my knee, for example). I am diabetic, so this is even more important in my personal case.
Love it! Great progression and speed too. The only time you'd see me running at that speed was if I was running for my life. Hopefully you can be an example for others.
The saying "health is everything" is one that everyone knows, but some take for granted until it fails.
Years ago I went through some really bad times and people asked me why I wasn't depressed. I told them I still had most of my health and mental facilities so the only one holding me back from coming back is me. I told them money can be lost or made, but having a big health issue is something that can really hold you back
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Old 02-07-2017, 06:35 PM
 
249 posts, read 196,866 times
Reputation: 492
Quote:
Originally Posted by volosong View Post
Planned out what I thought was an easy route, starting in San Bernardino and taking SART, (the Santa Ana River Trail), down to Huntington Beach and back. Fairly flat, but with a gentle gradient down to the ocean, then the reverse back up, but with the ocean breeze behind me to act as an assist.

Only have a few more weeks before the official retirement and I am totally expecting to kick my mileage up once I don't have to get into the Lab on a daily basis. This upcoming spring/summer will be spent in regaining a respectable level of fitness again. Eagerly anticipating the clocks changing for Daylight Savings Time.

I sure hope you're wrong on this one, ER. The grand plan is to make a cross-country ride in the summer of '18. I'm not giving up!.
I cycle, less now, but 100 miles is great. I've only ridden on the San Gabriel River Trail, I found it boring, is the SART a scenic ride? I need something interesting to keep me going and plan to move south this year.

I've also known people who did the cross country ride, very good goal!
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Old 02-07-2017, 06:42 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,726,438 times
Reputation: 32304
To Volosong: I enjoyed your story although I was sorry you had the discouraging experience. May retirement give you the extra time to stay as fit as you wish!

I,too, used to be a serious cyclist, a long time ago. I rode one triple century (300 miles) with the Los Angeles Wheelmen in 1980, I believe it was. It took me 22 and a half hours. My ex-wife and I rode from Seattle to Los Angeles in three weeks in 1978 or 1979. (It's weird I'm not even sure of the year anymore).

Edited to add: I believe you are a few years younger than I am, so you have that in your favor.
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Old 02-07-2017, 06:49 PM
 
Location: Close to an earthquake
890 posts, read 676,616 times
Reputation: 2390
Two thumbs up Escort Rider. I always enjoy reading things like what you shared.

I have a saying, "I'm only as good as my last workout and I am what I eat."

At age 61 years and 99 cents, I can still train hard and I do but not like I did as recently as three years ago. It's not necessary. Now that I'm busy with my work for the next couple months, I actually train in a spare room at my office. Three times a week for 20 minutes a workout. That may not seem like a lot but with the intensity that I put into what I do, it's actually a lot. I swing kettlebells (a 20kg and a 24kg one), do pushups, full-range bodyweight squats, stretching and some heavyands work with a pair of 5-lb. dumbbells.

Something is better than nothing.

I have many pleasant memories running and participating in fun runs like you're about to do. Every now and then I think about lacing up some running shoes and getting back at it. I'm a cardiovascular enthusiast and running is amazing. I still have hopes of doing so.

Keep on sharing what you've done. This guy will never get tired hearing stories like what you shared.
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Old 02-07-2017, 07:29 PM
 
6,306 posts, read 5,046,206 times
Reputation: 12810
hey ER - I started jogging again yesterday!

I've been going to exercise class a couple times a week, but I needed to add more. I'm trying to get to a single digit pant size. I'm at size 10 now.

I used to run 11 years ago and I know I can get back into it. Thankfully I never had knee issues.
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