Battling Age

By Rodney J. Auth

I turned 45 last month and realized (five years too late) my body was different. When I raced my 9-year-old twins across the front yard, they won. Huh? When my daughter dared me to do a pull-up, I did two. Two!

When I read something, I suddenly found it more comfortable to hold it out in front of me, like way in front of me. Even my hearing seemed to be acting up—I was told I was yelling during normal conversation. Say what?

I decided something had to be done.

So, I analyzed the problem. Step one was obvious—get into better shape. I defined that as losing weight (more than I care to write about here) and re-gain my functional fitness (raw strength, aerobic capacity, flexibility).

My kids turned me on to a couple of free apps for my phone that worked together to push me in the right direction. The first was the MultiYear Weight Training app—it provided a regular program I could follow that would take me from de-conditioned to functionally fit over the course of the next three years. I had to load an impressive amount of data into the app. I had to measure my ankles, my wrists, my body fat, my weight, my height. Then, I had to enter my goals (I chose swimsuit model—going to be a while) and voila’ a tailor-made plan was created.

But, I wasn’t allowed to stop there. As my teenage athletes told me (and the lifting app reminded me), exercise without the proper nutrition is wasted effort. So, the kids had me download the LoseIt! App, which forces me to scan barcodes and log in every gosh darn thing I eat. Then it yells at me if I’m getting too many of my calories from carbs or fats. It’s an amazing tool. I think of it as a “frienemy.”

I got to thinking about this today as I read Ann Satterfield’s feature on “Finding Fitness Flexibility After 50”. In it, she talks about how the city of Beaverton, Ore., has been using the Senior Fitness Test to establish a baseline for citizens in their community and recommend different fitness classes that meet both their interest level AND provide some improvement in their specific areas of fitness deficiency. They retest throughout the year to track the progress.

What a great program. Certainly easier than treating your body as one big science experiment. It also works on what I’ve identified as step two of my personal program—creating lifestyle changes.

For me (and I image the folks in Beaverton), that means getting out from behind my desk, being more active in the community, and living a bit more carefree.

In any event, Satterfield’s feature struck me as one more awesome example of the difference you make, each day, in your communities. The power of parks and recreation is truly awe-inspiring.

So, keep up the good work—and enjoy the start of summer.

Till next month…

Rodney J. Auth