Can exercise keep you young? I’m counting on it!

@postaday 61; #postaday2011

One of my colleagues, a lovely, young, lithe beautiful artist who surfs here in Hawaii, posted a link on Facebook this morning of a New York Times story from Well columnist Tara Parker-Hope in the paper’s Health section. This colleague would debate with me that she is young, but, I see her face, her skin, her shape, the sexiness, the twinkling eyes, and the sharp sense of humor, and I assure you, she could be in her 20s. Take that, Anna!

Can Exercise Keep You Young?

I’m certainly counting on it. Yesterday I posted a couple of links to books I’ve downloaded onto my iPad and iPhone, and I also have Tim Ferriss’s The 4-Hour Body, which is a very interesting and radical approach to fitness. In fact, Ferriss suggests that not everything in his book applies to everyone, and to choose his offerings ala carte. Of course his chapter on sex is a must read. A clinical approach to bedroom steam. It’s true. Not everyone really knows what to do.

I am going back to South Jersey for my 35th high school reunion in June. I’m looking forward to seeing people IRL. Many of us are friends on Facebook, where we are no longer teenagers competing and dying of embarrassment from day to day. Most of the old friends have grown up and are very nice people, although some are Republicans. Many of my peers are quite fit and stunning. One of the guys got in touch with me and let me know he lost a lot of weight and got on the fitness track. He was so happy and I was really honored that he took the time to let me know.

The other day I was thinking about how, when I was a little in the 60s, most of the women then who were my age now spent the day in loose house dresses with deep pockets to hold their cigarettes, matches and Pep-o-Mint Lifesavers. They watched soap operas, they sat on the steps out front and watched the world go by. My mother and her peers, women in their 20s and 30s at the time, sat around in chaise lounges around the swimming pool working on their tans, drinking Tab or Fresca and smoking cigarettes.

When we moved out of the row house in Riverside to a free-standing home in Delran the winter of 1968, I saw something really weird: A guy was jogging in a sweat suit, with a knit hat and gloves on, down the road, between the snowbanks. He was jogging so he wouldn’t fall. In the spring, summer and autumn, he was a runner in shorts and a T-shirt. He was a daily fixture, a wiry and skinny guy in his 40s, a new breed of man in the neighborhood. In the early 70s, when I was in high school, I started to participate in intramural tennis. I had already been swimming competitively since I was 6 years old. Children who run around, ride bikes, and play an impromptu game of neighborhood wiffle ball turn into teenagers who sit around and “hang out” with each other on street corners or record stores (remember those?). The racing hearts of youthful exuberance become bathed in hormones and instead would rather race for love. Adolescence. Why can’t we just skip it?

When I update my blog with my weekend bicycle rides with my Garmin stats, I sometimes state how it felt so good, how it felt like I was that little kid on her Schwinn Varsity 10-speed bike riding along country roads in New Jersey. When I leave 24-Hour Fitness Hawaii Kai about 515 a.m. each morning after my 65-minute elliptical session, I feel like I’m 30 years younger. Pretty soon I hope to be out surfing again, and back out on my SUP. I love ocean sports, and love remembering small-kid time on Long Beach Island.

Does exercise keep you young? If it transports you back to those care-free summer days where the biggest worry was whether you missed the Mister Softee truck or who picked the most blueberries, then I think it does. If it helps you shed some pounds and firm up  your muscles, then I think it does. If it provides you with a little more confidence between the sheets, then HELLAS YES!

My mom often remarks that I must be really fit. I evade her passive aggressive inquiry by responding that we never really are as fit as we want to be. And if we were, would we get up the next day, tune up the bicycle and hit the road for 20 or 30 miles?

I just don’t want to ever be found in a house dress, with deep pockets for my iPhone and dark chocolate Dove Promises.

By lavagal

Hawaii Kai wife and mom. Melanoma Stage 3a Cancer survivor. English Language Arts teacher, English Learners Coordinator, and Paraprofessional Tutor. Super sub teacher. Dormant triathlete. Road cyclist and Masters swimmer. Gardener. Mrs. Fixit. Random dancer. Music Curator. A teenager trapped in an aging body. Did you know 60 is the new 40? It is.

1 comment

  1. exercise probably doesn’t keep us young, but it’s definitely the best way to go about getting old. and just in case i’m wrong about the first part, we’ll be covered.

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