TO YOUR HEALTH
You were born with the face God gave you ... you will die with the face you gave yourself.” I have seen many variations of this anonymous quote over the years (often from cosmetics manufacturers), yet the truth it contains goes far beyond the condition of the skin on your face. In a much larger sense it speaks to the results that our choices have on our lives. As a personal trainer I have seen this illustrated time and again in the health and fitness of the people I work with.
I vividly remember the day I trained two 83-year-old clients, one right after the other. The first was a vivacious, lively woman with a wonderful, upbeat attitude. She performed all her exercises with machine-like precision, softly counting off each repetition aloud as she completed them. While she might not have been as lean as she could have been, she was in good physical condition as a result of her decades-long habit of maintaining an active lifestyle that included long walks on the beach, bike riding and strength training. She responded beautifully to the flexibility routine I taught her and then performed those stretches on her own at home. She was a joy to work with. She had long ago chosen health.
Immediately after my session with her came a frail and tottering man of the same age. Just walking slowly on a treadmill was a major challenge for him. While he was not really overweight, he had never bothered to maintain any kind of fitness regimen. He let himself get so deconditioned that he refused even to walk on the beach with his wife because he could not keep up. Let me add that he was a great guy with a funny, wry sense of humor, but overall one could sense that there was just no vitality in him. I had to move him along very slowly and carefully, getting him moving on the treadmill and teaching him a flexibility routine to perform. I worked with him personally in the gym to reclaim some of his lost strength (yes, 83-year-olds can get stronger, as he eventually did). One day, soon after we started working together, he looked up at me from the chest press machine and, with tears in his eyes, said, “I’m in terrible shape, aren’t I?” It was more of a statement than a question.
“Yes, you are,” I replied. “But the good news is that there is nowhere to go from here but up.” While he was well off financially, having concentrated his efforts on his career, and had provided well for his family, he had not chosen health along the way—and
SHE WAS IN GOOD PHYSICAL CONDITION AS A RESULT OF HER DECADES-LONG HABIT OF MAINTAINING AN ACTIVE LIFESTYLE THAT INCLUDED LONG WALKS ON THE BEACH, BIKE RIDING AND STRENGTH TRAINING.
now he (and his family) was paying the price. I am pretty sure you get the moral of this story. But it is important to recognize that, whatever age you are, whether you are a tattooed 20-something millennial or an AARP card-holding baby boomer, you have a choice. Which 83-year-old version will you become? Choose health.