Sunday, 2 August 2009

Getting Older - Getting Stronger

I have been counselling a 40 year old (and his partner) over the last 6 or 7 weeks.

He (Justin) under went Open Heart Surgery 5 weeks ago and before the event was very fearful, almost scared about the experience he was about to go through.

My conversations with Justin and his partner covered a range of things all based around the surgery process and what he would experience afterwards.

Put simply, he thought life as he knew it was about to end. Justin likes a beer on a hot day and was concerned he could never have a beer again. He enjoys restoring and riding old motor bikes and believed he would not be able to do any manual work again, let alone ride a motor bike again.

I spent a good deal of time outlining not only what happened pre and immediately post surgery, but also what he could expect during the first 6 weeks or so and what he could do to help himself.

It is common for people under going such an invasive procedure to believe their ability to perform physical activity will be lost forever when in fact nothing is further from the truth.

There is also a belief that as we get older, we lose the capacity for physical activity including athletic performance.

In one of my conversations with Justin I mentioned that despite my heart surgery, at 50 years of age I am fitter, stronger, more active, energetic and mentally alert than I was at 30 years of age.

I have felt this for some time but have never actually articulated it before, partly because society almost requires us to succumb to ageness.

I was therefore very interested to read this quote in an article on about the impact the Raleigh Cycling Team had on racing in the USA. The quote is from John Howard, one of the original team members who now runs a coaching business in San Diego. He had this to say:

"the body is capable of maintaining much more than we ever gave it credit for. Now we realise it is not so much about age, it is how you perceive that. (Back then) you heard athletes talking about their age as if it were a handicap. I choose not to accept it as a handicap. I look at it as a challenge. It is the only intelligent way to judge it"

John Howard (the Coach) comments resonated with me and one of my personal objectives that on each and every birthday, I can be fitter, stronger and healthier than I was on the previous birthday. (And this is my wish for everyone)

As a society we are almost conditioned to give into age. We use it as an excuse for not doing this or that and for that matter, as an excuse for justifying things we do.

It is time for us all to eliminate the excuses and get on with the journey.

(Here is the full article


Groover said...

Thanks Colin. Great post.
And I agree, too. I'm now (not right now but now in general) fitter than I was ten years ago.

Just one thing: would you stop lying about your age, please. There's no way you are 50! :-)

Colin said...

Groover - are suggesting I am older than 50? I have the CA licence to prove it.