Now when I wake up in the morning, I don't think about how I can fit in my workout around everything I have to do....Instead I think of how to get things done around my workout.
As the "Younger Next Year" book asserts, exercise and your health are your job. And if you take into account that your career and business cannot progress adequately unless you are in top physical condition, it makes sense.
A key facet to assimilating this premise is the realization that good health is not automatic. As you get older, you don't stay strong and control your weight without attending to the aerobic exercise requirement that your ancestors programmed into you.
And as you get older and your economic picture matures, you frequently have the means to afford bad habits.
If you want to have a pizza and a six pack of beer for dinner, or a supersized Big Mac Meal for lunch, the cash is there and you have no impediment to satisfying your cravings. I remember when I was young and lean, I never had the financial means to buy anything that I felt like immediately eating.
Basically, if you have disposable income, there is a tendency to finance takeout and beverages as the desire arises. If you have also left your schoolboy athletic career behind, the result is a gain in weight. Plus your metabolism changes when you get older, but your appetite doesn't, So more pounds eating the same stuff.
Once I realized that this was happening, I started resolving to exercise more.... but I never made it a top priority. There was always business or job needs to attend to, and youth hockey games to attend, and almost anything else that came along that would push exercise off of the agenda.
But a health alert or a mirror image was not the factor that set off the alarm bell with me. I had seen a number of my people my age and older stay in great shape, and while I admired them, I had no need to emulate their lifestyle.
Bob Towne, my UMass college roommate, is a nationally recognized ultra distance runner, and has competed in 100 mile runs. Harvey Rowe, my former business partner, is an accomplished tri-athlete and never misses a day of working out despite his business and charity work. Christos Laganos, my old classmate and new found Facebook friend, who turned me on to the "Younger Next Year"book, through-hiked the Appalachian Trail when he turned 60 and takes 100 mile bike rides with impunity.
Even though these guys are my age and older, my basic attitude has been "Cool" for them. What rang the bell for me was my closet.
I have multiple pairs of size 36 and 38 waist pants that I can no longer wear, and a ton of XL sweaters that are now uncomfortable. But when size 40 trousers started to be tight and hard to button, and I actually started to look for a 42 to wear, but couldn't find that size in entire stores up in North Conway, I decided that this trend had to be reversed. Time to find a way back into clothes that I already own, rather than buy all new Fat Boy sizes.
Plus Kate keeps giving me momentos of her wedding, with pictures of her as the beautiful bride and me as the Jolly Fat Dad. Up till now, I was happy to look at her visage and tried to ignore the Fat Guy standing next to her in the photos. But Mike's wedding is gearing up to be held in the White Mountains in August and I want his and Pam's album to show a different MOAM.
Then Laganos turned me on to the "Younger Next Year" book by Chris Crowley and Dr. Henry S. Lodge, which seemed to me to be a handbook on how to manage tthe last third of your life. It points out that you can live into your 80's and 90's with vigorous health rather than debilitating pains and illnesses. It makes perfect logical sense, and seems foolish not to follow this advice.
So that's the background to why this Sunday morning..... the day after the Patriots beat the Ravens in a great playoff game.... my first priority is to pedal one hour on the Cybex until my tee shirt is dripping wet with sweat, then doing as many pushups as I can before my arms turn all girlyman. And that is the right thing to do.