When I reached the age of seventy-five I decided it was time to get fitter and become more active in my daily life. Everyone wants to live longer, but no one wants to be old.
I’ve always enjoyed my daily 5:00 am walk, only now I pick out the hills. Walking along flat ground is okay if done at a fast pace, but walking up and down hills make your heart work harder. A new study has found that short bursts of physical activity – up hills – can be just as effective as one concentrated session. Even brief trips up and down stairs count towards accumulated exercise minutes.
Talking about stairs reminds me of my cruise ship holidays. It always amazes me to see people waiting for the lift to travel up or down one or two decks when it would be much more beneficial for their health to take the stairs. And it’s mainly the overweight people who use the lift.
Cruising actually got me back into playing table tennis. It’s one of the popular pastimes aboard ship and a great cardio workout. Not being as good a player as I was when a younger man, I became sick and tired of being beaten up by everyone and sundry on board. When I arrived back home I joined a table tennis group organised by U3A (University of the Third Age). This helped me become fit and mobile, and together with another sport I’ve taken up in the last twelve months, Pickleball, I’m able to move around like a young colt. Pickleball is similar to tennis, only played on a smaller court and the ball is served underhand. This makes it ideal for older people to have fun while they’re getting fit. The game is also organised through U3A.
I’ve left my favourite get fit sport until last, weight training. Otherwise known as pumping iron. The benefits of pumping iron are enormous. It will make you feel stronger, and after a few months you will start to look stronger. Every activity you do in your daily life will seem easier to carry out, and you’ll be able to do it for longer. And the harder you pump iron the more your body will change. Studies have shown that 60 and 70 year olds can pack on muscle. It isn’t hard to stay motivated when you notice results in your performance and physique.
During my last annual health check I mentioned to my GP that I had enough money to last me the rest of my life. He looked at me but didn’t comment…