Sunday, 15 March 2015

The thing about being 53

When I was 50 I took great delight in blogging about it, celebrating the fact that I was in better shape than at 40.  I still remember that and feel thankful.

That was a few years ago and my health and fitness plateaued, I was not that conscious of any real changes.  However I have now become 53 and all of a sudden I seem to have aged and I'm still reconciling myself to this.

It seems as if quite a few tell-tale signs have crept up on me and I'm not so sure about how I should deal with these.  It used to be said we aged in steps, each seven years apart.  Now I'm sceptical about most of these claims which amount to old wives tales although surprisingly there is often a modicum of truth in these.  While that arithmetic doesn't work for me, I know I have definitely aged over the last 6-9 months and this is how it is showing itself:

  • my hair is thinning out (not too bothered)
  • my face is a bit more wrinkly (quite like this!)
  • my hearing has deteriorated (ear wax?)
  • my eyesight has really deteriorated 
  • my metabolism has changed - very, very easy to put weight on
  • toilet routine i.e. more frequent
  • when running my top speed is now slower
  • more tired in the evenings
  • I care even less about what other people think of me
My reaction to this?
In someways ageing is a beautiful thing but now this is happening to me, I'm not so sure.  Some of these things have taken me by surprise and others are trivial.

While I often used to joke about my middle age denial, now I cannot be so sure about this.  However, there's so much to be grateful for and to be inspired by:
  • Some older runners and cyclists are truly inspirational.  I have met some in their 60s and 70s who are incredibly fit, nimble, flexible and seem to have retained considerable stamina (but have needed to let go of speed)
  • The kayaking club: no, I'm not planning to give up running and cycling in favour of kayaking but I cannot help but be impressed by the good all-round levels of fitness amongst the paddlers there.  There's more to kayaking than simply having strong arm and shoulder muscles!  All-round fitness, strong core and stamina are important, along with poise and balance
  • At work I always use the stairs, unless I am escorting a less-able person through the building.  I generally go up two stairs at a time and have to go really fast before I get out of breath at the top.  Others who are much younger wheeze and struggle.  Some colleagues have been in the habit of using the lift over the years they and it really shows now (slippery slope syndrome?)
  • I am naturally an optimistic person and I can be pretty determined at times.  This means I will keep pressing ahead staying healthy and sharing this with others
  • Food and nutrition: there is so much really nasty, processed and unhealthy food around which is being sold in all kinds of guises.  I am avoiding this even more than ever but I'm not turning this blog into a guide to horrible food.  Instead I am learning more about food and how it is so strongly linked with good health
In a previous post I talked about becoming 50 and the reaction by senior colleagues at work.  Would you believe that seems to continue just the same!  I still have a regular "audience" with the Strategic Management Team (some might call it a grilling) and those biscuits are still there on the table.

Running and old age

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