It’s something I ask myself every time I feel a muscle ache. “What the heck am I thinking? Why am I doing this at almost 53 years old?” Just last night, my wife told me that some folks think we’re a little crazy for eating healthy and exercising. Those same people question us making such a drastic change in our lifestyle “So late in life.”
First of all, I don’t see us making the lifestyle change as being so late in our lives. If I have anything to do with it, we changed our lifestyle half-way through this amusement park ride called life. I’m fairly certain that by eating healthier and exercising, we will extend our lives beyond where they would have ended had we not improved our health. My own body was beginning to fail me, and just the simple task of tying my own shoes had nearly become impossible. Something had to change.
Second, maybe we are a little crazy for eating healthy and exercising. But if this is what’s called being crazy, then people who don’t eat right and don’t exercise are flat-out insane. Controlling what goes into our mouths is much simpler than people make it out to be, and exercise doesn’t have to be marathon running or hours long gym sessions. A simple 30 minutes, three times a week is all you need to do to make your heart pump a little harder than usual to keep your body in shape.
It was also brought to my attention that some people are wondering when we will “Go back to normal” and stop eating healthy and stop exercising. After all, it’s easier for people to root for us to stop being healthy than it is for them to change their own habits. Somehow, seeing Sherry and I succeed at health and fitness highlights their own feelings of insecurity and heightens their anxiety over their inability to eat healthy and exercise. This is, unfortunately, pretty common.
I have at least six more years of fitness ahead of me that I cannot escape. Being in the military dictates that I always be physically fit and ready for war. As a leader, I have to ensure that I’m above reproach when it comes to not only my leadership skills and knowledge, but also in physical fitness. I cannot be an effective and inspiring leader if I’m not in as good shape or better than my Soldiers. I feel that this is very important, and I see this as my primary motivator every single time I go out for a run.
Beyond that, however, is the fact that I really enjoy being unlimited by physical ability when my wife and I want to undertake adventures. I love that we can hike, mountain bike, zip line, or do pretty much whatever we want because we are not only fit, but we are not overweight. Activities like zip line riding have weight restrictions for safety. Five years ago, we never could have even considered zip lining. We just bought two kayaks that will arrive in June and we can’t wait to hit some inland waterways!
What am I thinking? I’m thinking that I’m fortunate to be this active at age 52. I’m thinking that my health is much better today than it has been in over 25 years. I’m thinking that I might be able to stick around and annoy and molest my wife for more years than if I were to just let myself go. I am also very fortunate that my body is allowing me to do these things. Sure, I’m sore more often than I’m not because I’m always pushing myself to become stronger and faster, but that’s a good thing. My intention is to never stop eating right and exercising. I don’t want to be limited by my health or lack of fitness if there’s anything I can do about that.