Training for the Long Haul

The Training Corner

Q: About that health-span idea …. My take is that death is part of life. When my number is up, it’s up. I cannot buy into the unrelenting message of manic self-care in the pursuit of health, guaranteed safety [no such thing], and a 100-year lifespan as my sole purpose in life. I am 58, happily married, and have raised three kids, who are all living on their own, and making their way in the world. My wife and I run a small service business, and we have no plans to retire. As a matter of fact, that’s our reason to get up in the morning, our employees and the community we serve. Our business is hands-on, with minimal screen time demands.

We are born-and-raised Montanans, and we love the outdoors. We are all-seasons GO, and we raised our kids the same way. My mindset is one of keep going ‘til I can’t. I just saw my cardiologist for my annual review. I do so because my Dad suffered a massive heart attack at 48, most likely from years of chronic distress, excess alcohol, smoking a packa-day, and a meat-potatoes-gravy diet.

Another year, and I am still holding my own. All my markers are well within the very healthy range, including my weight and belt notch, plus I killed the treadmill test, only sucking wind at the very end on the steepest incline. And still no NEED for MEDS. Doc said, ‘whatever you are doing, keep doing it!” I realize that Murphy can strike at any time, and that there are no guarantees. Any tips on how I can further boost my buffer to defy and deny the aging slide? Without becoming an obsessive joy-sucker? Jack, 58

A: Jack, by all means, keep doing what you are doing. That includes loving life [and your wife], and having a reason to get up in the morning, that SPIRIT bucket of my 7Ss. “We do not live to BE healthy and safe; we live healthfully and safely to LIVE life to the fullest.” For more on living better and longer, read up on the centenarians in the Blue Zones. See www.bluezones.com.

Without knowing the details of your food-drink, physical activity-exercise, sleep-recovery-regeneration, and survive-thriveon-stress Pillars, I can tell that your Purpose Pillar, your sense of meaning and relevance is strong and powerful. To be honest, it’s that spirit that drives our mind that drives our body.

Here are some general questions to ponder, to detect the slightest of slips or slides?

Do you do some form of physical labor, training [exercise], walking or recreation DAILY?

Do you work up a sweat, and huff and puff, at least twice a week in any of the above?

Do you lift, carry, squat and lunge, push and pull heavy stuff at least 2X/week?

Do you get down and up from the ground at least ONCE DAILY?

Do you get outdoors DAILY in fresh air and sunshine, adding up to one hour per day?

Are any physical tasks getting more difficult, forcing you to hire them out?

Have you stopped doing some of the things that make you tick, due to fear of injury or loss of confidence?

Do you eat REAL, minimally-processed food most of the time, including fresh and/or flash-frozen veggies and fruits of all colors, and heart-healthy protein and FAT sources? I will assume that because of your Dad’s Hx, you have implemented a healthy Mediterranean-DASH-MIND pattern of eating for decades. Stay on top of new research, and ask your cardiologist about cutting-edge heart-health buffers based on YOUR bio-markers.

Do you sleep well and consistently for 6-8 hours a night?

Do you rest and relax doing things that ease your mind, like prayer, hobbies, music, reading, and having a glass of wine with your wife?

Do you share your gifts, your wisdom, your expertise through your work or leisure-time pursuits?

Bottom line, Jack … Do your daily habits match up and support how you want to live your life for decades to come? It is prep and prehab for the long haul, habits, patterns and practices that nurture resilience, durability and robustness …HARDINESS!

So spot-check yourself periodically. “Keep learning, growing and discovering, by pushing out of the comfort zone sometimes. Oh YES you CAN … defy and deny the slide!” That’s GRIT!

Need a nitty-gritty assessment to see where you’re at? Contact Pat through www.activeandagile. com or www.movingmountainsmt.com. See previous editions of Mountain Grit for more training tips from Pat.

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