Friday, 9 October 2009

Living Until the End: Exercise for the High Middle Ages

The year I was 50 Lee bought me a bicycle for my birthday, and I learned to ride it. A series of articles in yesterday’s Globe and Mail reminded me of that. “Fit after Fifty” was the banner, and below a half dozen stories told of people--all members of what the Globe suggests may be “the fittest generation”--and their athletic and fitness activities.

The stories’ subjects are just entering their High Middle Ages, but what they’re discovering is something that became clear to many of the previous generation some time ago. My own land mark birthday is some ways behind me, and I NEVER ride a bike if I can avoid it, but keeping the old body moving proves to be more and more important. So far the best cure for arthritic knees (I ran my last 10 k just before my 60th birthday) seems to be a half hour of exercises suggested by a physio therapist and walking—at least an hour a day--nearly everywhere. My mother could barely go up stairs when she was my age, and I’m sure I was headed that way too, but so far, so good.

The person who takes the cake though, is our friend Sid Ingerman. He’ll turn 81 next month, and, while he’d swum a lot all his life, he took up triathlon when he was 75. He’s still going strong, completing his most recent one just a month ago.

Disease or accidents will bring us all down at some point (and the emails this morning included news of a friend whose chronic condition has just turned acute with very unpleasant prognosis) our aim should be to LIVE up to the end, and exercise will help us do that.

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