Last weekend I did my first triathlon in about two years, and one of the participants was 89-year old John Taylor. Yes, you read that right….he is 89 years old and out there competing! I came up upon John during the bike ride as I passed him while he was going up a steep hill. OK yes, my first competitive thought was “how did he beat me in the swim?” … and then I learned that he was part of a team and he was doing the 18-mile bike. I said words of encouragement as I went by him and was thinking how inspiring it was that he was out there. I have seen him in races before and was happy to see him still out there racing.
During the awards ceremony (in which I placed third in my age group), they let John make a speech. He said how fulfilling it was for him to be able to race and he was doing this as a race with his two grandchildren. He said that exercising was keeping him mentally and physically younger than people his own age, and he is certainly right. How many 89-year olds do you know who can bike 18 miles?
I think of the “tale of two grandparents” that I tell people during my wellness workshop. My son has only two grandparents – my mother and my husband’s father. One is 82 and runs or swims daily and is not on any medication, which is how he has lived his whole life. The other is 81, has a hard time walking and is on many medications. Yes that is my mom and unfortunately, she is just not as healthy as she could be. Something tells me that a lifetime of exercise and no medications has kept my father-in-law in much better health than my mom, who is taking a bunch of drugs because she believes that is what is going to make her healthy. Exercise has never been a part of her life and her body is paying for it now.
One of my long-term goals is to be able to do a triathlon in every decade of my life. I want to run at least one road race every year. Most years I race at least 5-10 times (though I only did one last year), either a triathlon or running race and love just feeling fit and being in shape. I KNOW that it will help me years down the road.
So where do you want to be when you are in your 80’s? In a wheel chair, a hospital, a walker, running on the beach, playing tennis, swimming? Do you want to be physically active? If so, you must start now if you haven’t already. Build a habit of exercise into your life on a daily basis. Don’t rely on drugs to make you healthy, they only cover up symptoms and do not correct the problem. That doesn’t work. True health comes from within and is your own responsibility. No one but yourself is responsible for your health. If you want to be healthy the rest of your life, include regular exercise, weekly chiropractic adjustments, ideal nutrition every day and plenty of sleep into your life. Be proactive and start now. Think of the inspirational John Taylor and what can do at age 89. Very cool.