Tag Archives: Exercise and aging

Put One Foot In Front Of The Other

“Act as the master of your life by putting your health, well being and happiness first.”

-Mariana Olszewski

“If you learn to create the right kind of climate in your body, mind, and emotion, your health and wellbeing and joy-everything will be taken care of.”

-Sadhguru

Being a teacher, I am blessed every year with having summers off. Although won’t see any kids until after Labor Day, I do have to go in tomorrow and Thursday for meetings. Every year in June I make a pledge to myself that I am going to get out and hike as much as possible. To get out and really put in the miles, see the views and do hikes I have never done before. Unfortunately, this usually ends up not being the case. Many times life takes over and prevents me from getting the hikes in that I have always wanted to do. And believe it or not, my own laziness has stopped me as well! Now I’m not saying that I haven’t hiked during past summers, it just has never been at the volume I would have liked.

As the school year drew to a close this year I made the same pledge. This will be the year that I get out as much as I can to do as much hiking as I could fit into the summer! I’m not going to lie, this school year was a really stressful one and the summer has been even more so. I really needed to commit to this!!! 

One of the other things that not many people know is that in November of 2014 I was diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure. Although I have always hiked and rode a stationary bike, this was not only a surprise, but a life changing diagnosis.

When I left the office that day, I thought that not only my hiking days were over, but my life as I knew it. I was really disheartened (no pun intended) at first when I was doing the stress test and did not even last 30 seconds on the treadmill. I knew that if I had continued I would have dropped. When I met with my cardiologist a couple of days later, we talked about the diagnosis and what it meant for me. I asked him when I could resume exercising and much to my surprise he said that I could do so immediately.

So here I am almost three years later. I have gone from not lasting 30 seconds on a treadmill to doing an 11 mile hike last week and completing 27 hikes to this point this summer.

Please don’t think that I am fishing for compliments or sympathy. I am simply pointing out that even in the darkest moments (thinking I was quite literally given a death sentence) that you can come back from that and resume an active lifestyle.

The most important thing to take from this is: All you have to do is put one foot in front of the other. At first it hurts and it sucks. We all have days where you don’t want to do anything, walk, ride, get out of bed. But you have to do it! I know for me the alternative was….well you can figure it out…

It is official-I am now the “Old Guy”

“Age fast, age slow-it’s up to you”

-Kenneth Cooper

For several years now, I have gotten used to people, both men and women, who will open doors for me and refer to me as “sir”.  Although I am 51 years old, I still feel pretty young, even though sometimes it is harder to get up in the morning. The way I look at it is, if I wake up and can get out into the woods for a hike, it has been a good day. Today, however, I actually felt old-if only just for a minute.

The hike that I did today was a loop that looks like an oddly shaped and really demented lollipop. At a length of a little bit over 6 miles, it goes up one trail, loops to another and then another before coming back on the original trail.

I passed the Dutch Doctor Shelter on the way up the trail at about 8:30 am, and then again a couple of hours later on my return trip. When I passed it the first time, I heard voices coming from the shelter so I didn’t stop to investigate and kept on going. On my return trip, I had planned to stop and take pictures of the interior, but somehow I missed it!

As I moved down the trail, I heard voices once again and came upon a group of about 10 teenagers. I could tell by the discussion that the group leaders were having with several of the “campers/hikers” that they were not happy. I stopped and asked one of the group leaders the usual questions-“Where were they from? How long were they hiking?” and she told me that they had hiked to the shelter yesterday and were hiking back this morning to return home.

I could sense the frustration of the young leader as she tried to get the group moving again. Some of the kids she said had complained the entire way to the shelter and were still complaining even though they  were only about 3/4 of mile into the return 1.85 miles this morning. Listening to some of these kids you would think that they had been out in the woods for days and had hiked many, many miles. Obviously this was not the case.

Here is the reason I am telling you this story. The leader asked me how long I had been hiking for (since it was early in the day) and was interested in knowing how long my hike was. I told her that I had been out for almost three hours and was about to complete 6.35 miles. After a few minutes, I took my leave and only got about 20 yards away when I heard one of the leaders say with a certain level of sarcasm (I think)-“Holy shit! That old guy is about to finish almost seven miles and you can’t hike for a mile or two? Stop bitching and start walking.”

Wow…It’s bad enough to have everyone call you sir, but when did I become the “old guy”?