Getting Fit Hurts. Staying Fit, Does Not.
Oh how bad it hurts to get fit… Those first few weeks of getting those muscles used to a little bit of work can give the impression that one is “getting old” – that it will always hurt like that…
I’ve been trapped indoors, for the most part, since mid-January when the roads finally got too gnarly for cycling. Even so, I’ve been keeping fit on my trainer in the office and at home on the weekend and actually doing a decent job of it this year.
Then came our vacation trip to Florida. Instantly we found ourselves in an environment where it is comfortable to play outside, where coats and boots have their place; packed away so we can pull them out for the return trip home.
For our first day, I played 18 holes of golf, went for a 17 mile bike ride (obviously short, as rides go, but I have a ton to fit in) and played tennis for an hour… I woke up this morning loose and ready for more. Swimming, another bike ride, and who knows what else is in store for us today.
When I started running in my early thirties, I thought it hurt because I had left my prime in the past, that I would have to learn to enjoy a more subdued lifestyle – after all, this is when pro athletes start getting ready for retirement, no?
No. I was mistaken. Not because I haven’t slowed down a little, I have, but where I went wrong was in thinking that I had something in common with a pro athlete. To perform at a pro level, the body must be young, strong and fit. As a pro athlete ages, performing at that high a level becomes too much. There’s a large gap between me and that.
While it is fair to say that I am on the high side of performance, what I choose to do has proven to be “sustainable” – I’m fast enough to hang and slow enough and fit enough to avoid injury while maintaining my exceptionally active lifestyle.
Over time, as I’ve grown accustomed to moving, I don’t hurt as much as i did when I was less active. The season’s first round of golf always had me walking a little gingerly the next day or two. Today, ten years older, and I can throw a bike ride and a bit of tennis in their with no pain or need to slow down or take it easy.
The truth is, I used to use age as an excuse to take it easier when I could have had my foot on the gas and felt much better. There is an obvious balance that must be maintained, I’m not twenty anymore so I sure don’t bounce like I used to. That clarified, inertia is a beautiful thing.