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  • Why?

    I thought about this today while I was doing my ab and aerobic routine. Why do I go through this?

    I'm 61½ years old, have no cartilage in my left shoulder, about half the cartilage in my big toes, I have high blood pressure controlled by Lisinopril, and a right hip that occasionally decides to go out, and always at the most inconvenient time. So why put myself through the added pain of 250 abdominal exercises and 20 minutes on the Gazelle every other day, along with the free weight workouts and the Total Gym exercises I do on the opposite days?

    And believe me, there is pain. After my heavy weight days, every muscle I worked aches. I should probably invest in the companies that make Aleve and Aspirin, since I am one of their best customers.

    But then again, what is the alternative? If I stop working out, my metabolism will slow and I'll be forced to either eat like a bird (actually a misnomer of sorts, but we'll deal with that later), or consign myself to taking long walks along the river or riding my bicycle instead of using my car. Hey, I don't live in Europe or China, I'm a spoiled American who enjoys driving. Bicycles are great for exercise, but in the winter in Illinois, not very practical. Ditto on the long walks in the snow, the river isn't really that interesting. Not happening.

    Then there's the weight. When I weighed 235, I was sluggish and felt like an elephant was sitting on my shoulders every time I tried to move. I couldn't walk up a flight of stairs without feeling winded, and that's a real inconvenience in a two story house with a basement. My high blood pressure was starting to inch it's way up, even with the Lisinopril. Worse than that, my blood sugar was heading upwards as well, and the thought of being classified as “diabetic” isn't exactly what I had in mind.

    These days, 50 pounds lighter and in a lot better shape, I have no problem with the stairs, my blood pressure is back under control, and my blood sugar is back to a manageable level. If I wanted to take those long walks or ride my bicycle, I could, without a second thought. And when I need to do something that requires physical effort, there's no hesitation. I get up, get it done, and go back to whatever else I was doing.

    I suppose eating healthier has a lot to do with it as well. I used to go into a restaurant and order whatever looked good, regardless of the calories or the content. Now I can do the same thing if I want to, but I don't want to. My perspective on eating has changed. I no longer live to eat, but eat to live.

    There are no guarantees in life, to be sure. But as my sister says, it isn't quantity of life you need to be concerned about, but quality of life.

    I'd rather be able to go out on my own two feet than in a wheelchair or nursing home. I'd rather be able to watch my great grandchildren graduate high school or even get married from the pew or the bench rather than watch the video. Not that I have anything against home made videos, but I'd rather be making them than watching them.

    Why? Because I want to hedge my bets, look good, and be able to do things until the day I die. Because I don't to be one of those folks lying in a nursing home bed waiting for a nurse to come clean them up. Because I'd rather live my life than watch others live theirs.

    The workout today was, like I said, abs and aerobic. I started with leg and hip stretches, then did the 40 ab crunches with leg lifts, then 30 V-ups, then 150 situps on my exercise ball, and finally 30 oblique raises on my bench. From there I went immediately to my Gazelle and spent the next 20 minutes with Mr. Billy Idol while I got my heart rate up.

    It was a good day. Arms and Shoulders, heavy day tomorrow.

    I hope you are having a blessed and glorious day.

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