We are now a biparticipation family with both of us making our way to the gym each week. Dick has a personal trainer he meets with once a week and on his other trip to the gym, he warms up with us back in the CrossFit area and then when we start our workout, he takes off for the machine part of the gym.

I go to the gym five days a week, taking a rest day on Wednesday and Sunday. I’ve gotten back into doing my yin yoga four to six times a week from twenty minutes to one hour per session. I just use YouTube and follow along upstairs where I have my space all set up.

Dick also golfs three times a week and walks the course, which he had maintained was all the exercise he needed. I knew he was not really getting all the exercise he needed, but going for a nice walk is better than going for a nice sit and watching TV so I let it go. At the end of last summer, there was a deal for a family member to get a special rate to join the gym and I didn’t even mention it to him because he has always thought I was a bit too extreme with my CrossFit stuff.

I did talk about it to someone else and he overheard and thought he might like to try. He went and joined up and had his initial assessment. He was as much out of shape as I was when I went for my first introductory free CrossFit class. He couldn’t do much of anything. He was chagrined to find he was in such bad shape.

That’s the thing. We lose a little bit of our youth each day. We age incrementally. We don’t really notice how much we have lost until we are smacked in the face with it. And then it is “humbling” for us. Inside our heads, we stop aging and we are adult and that’s it and we don’t really remember exactly how adult we are. Sometimes when passing a mirror, it can be a bit disconcerting to see an old person staring back, but we manage to move on and forget how old we really are.

We don’t realize that as we age, it’s not just smooth skin that leaves us. It is all manner of things. If we don’t ever have to try to do those things, we can just muddle through and be fine. But eventually, it catches up to us. We have neglected our physical selves for so long that we can no longer manage a whole flight of stairs or to get out of a chair without giving ourselves a push. It isn’t like we were running marathons one day and incapacitated the next. It is a slow descent into incapacity.

When is the best time to try to keep our youthful abilities? Today is a great day to start, yesterday would have been better. If you can’t do much today because you waited too long, do what you can now and keep at it day after day. If you can’t make it up the entire staircase without using the handrail and struggling, then go halfway up and come back down. Do that five times with rests in between and then call it a day. Tomorrow, do it again. Then keep at it until you can manage the entire flight of stairs. Then keep doing it so it doesn’t go away again.

If you can’t manage to get out of a chair without help, use the help and get in and out of the chair ten times. Then rest (in the chair) and then when you have caught your breath, do it again. Keep this up over time and you will eventually be able to get in and out of chairs without assistance.

When you make it that far, try adding some things to your list of what you need to do to keep moving adequately. I lift weights, but not everyone has to do that. I enjoy it. Perhaps all you care about is getting the groceries into the house. So, practice lifting a full milk jug over and over. You can start with a half gallon and work your way up to a gallon. If you keep practicing, you might eventually be able to get all the groceries into the house in just one trip.

If you are young enough to not have fallen into such sad shape, keep moving now while it is still easier to make gains. The older you are, the slower you body is to respond to this stuff. Taking care of your younger self is something your older self will thank you for, be delighted with, and celebrate as you manage to hold on to the life you want for longer than those who didn’t care for their outer shell.

No one dreams of dying in a nursing home. I’ve never heard anyone say they hoped they ended up in one. The best chance you have for staying out of them is to take care of yourself now. Once it is too late, it will take a monumental effort to overcome the inertia of years or decades.

You don’t have to do CrossFit. It is all scalable and you can do CrossFit, but it isn’t mandatory. What you do have to do is adequate range of motion and some weight resistance. It makes a difference.

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