Saturday, June 28, 2008


Like everyone else, I came equipped with muscles as standard equipment. I have made few efforts to do anything special with them over my 58 years, however.

I did take a running class in school, and I have always walked a lot. During our 30 months in Sweden earlier this decade, I calculated that Linda and I walked somewhere between 1,000 and 1,500 miles.....not unusual in that fit society. I worked out in a gym every day for a couple of weeks once, and was surprised to find that at age 47, it's still possible to gain strength. By direct calculation, I found that I had increased the strength of some of my muscle groups by at least 50%. It's possible to gain strength at any age, I was told.

Since early 2007, I have been making a special effort, and now months later, I am starting to really feel some of the benefits of it. I joined an athletic club, and the combination of weight equipment, steam room, and loathing to pay for something I don't use has proved irresistible.

I started a year and a half ago with the ability to do zero pull-ups. Today I did 21 -- 10 without stopping and the balance in sets. I bench pressed 140 pounds, my best yet. None of this is impressive to those who do this all the time, of course, but I am writing to encourage you if you are in your middle years and feeling the toll of time and inactivity.

I don't use the added strength often, naturally. My work doesn't require much physical strength. But it's like having a sharp chisel when you need it.

And, there are some other benefits. First, when I am done each day I feel pretty good -- "runner's high" I suppose. Second, I have felt increasingly good about myself. Third, Linda admires the new bulges on my arms, chest and back. I'm vain enough to like that. Fourth, it is supposed to be good for my long term health.

I didn't have time for this. A busy work schedule made it seem impossible. But prioritizing that 6 or 8 hours a week has been one of my better investments of time.

1 comment:

  1. The guns are lookin' good, Papa! Keep it up!