“Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives”
Any Days’ fans? I was hooked one summer when Jessie and (?) were getting ready to marry. When I briefly picked it up again later, I remember being amazed that even though the story line had densely webbed, the characters hadn’t aged. In two years of real-time the characters aged about one week — not much sand passed through their proverbial hourglass…
Nice, right! But, we all know better, ageing is inevitable and along with it the creeks and cracks as our body adapts. What does this mean to our Iron Footprint? Two points – one, while we cant deny time’s march we can influence HOW we age and the degree to which it impacts our movement capacity; and two, while the Iron Footprint achievement dimensions are stable across the lifespan, the FitBEST contour will change over time—and that’s ok.
(To note, ageing is complex, and variable factors can influence lifespan wellness.)
That we age, out of our hands; HOW we age, influenced by lifestyle choices, namely our exercise habit. Movement begets movement. The movement capacity we retain is influenced by the movement we sustain. True – we lose what we don’t use, but also true – what we use we lose less quickly; and as well as physical vigor, exercise also promotes optimal cognitive and emotional wellness. Sustained regular physical activity can uniquely and profoundly enhance lifespan life quality, including the likelihood of remaining independent as we age.
Ageless ‘feeling good’ is more likely the more sustained our exercise habit, but matching the sub-20 minute 5K run we did as a twenty-something is less likely with passing time. While the Iron Footprint achievement dimensions are lifespan-fixed, our FitBEST contour IS going to change over time. Our performance capacity diminishes as our hairline recedes, and there comes that point when we can’t quite run 440 intervals, or snap the throw from third to first, or bench four plates like we used to…so be it, and a big so what! Not to disqualify what can be disconcerting, but the change is (rarely) not overnight, and different just means different, not bad.
First, the official FitBEST rules state that you can add new events to trial whenever you want, in fact, the more you trial the better. Remember, it’s not the mark that is important rather THAT you mark; so if decreased mobility necessitates, create events that align to your reality. No big whoop if it becomes time to move away from unassisted pull-ups to assisted pull-ups due to funky elbows, or using the arm-bike instead of the treadmill, or any other adaptation or modification.
Second, if you want to take competition one step further (or continue) ‘Senior’ organized sports are booming, no pun intended, with baby-boomers trending significantly more active than previous generations. For example, The National Senior Games Association offers competition in 19 different sports that culminates with an annual national championships festival. Then there is Senior Softball, among the most competitive of any sport league of any age group, complete with notorious cheating scandals. Tell me someone who goes so far as to shave a bat to hit 20 feet farther doesn’t still have fire in their belly! It goes to show the fire doesn’t go away even if the woodpile gets stacked differently than before.
Don’t dwell on what you can’t do anymore, sustain regular activity to retain all that you CAN do, and realize that a changing FitBEST shape is just that – a changing shape.
The Morning Glories in my flower boxes are going strong in their second year but the new generation sprouts are growing at very strange angles compared to the originals. I think they look great and will ride their wave as long as possible. Embrace your new quirks, creaks/cracks, wrinkles/ lines, hair everywhere but your head, and think of the evolving contours of your FitBESTS as new sprouts.