TO YOUR HEALTH

Choose Health

Times of the Islands - - Departments - BY TONY DICOSTA Tony DiCosta is a cer­ti­fied per­sonal trainer and fit­ness writer. As a com­pet­i­tive physique ath­lete in the Masters Di­vi­sions, DiCosta has been the Over-60 Florida State cham­pion and holds nu­mer­ous re­gional and in­ter­na­tional ti­tles. He can

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.