As I have said before, growing older sucks.
Just wanted to put that out there once more.
I was discussing age and how it affects the body yesterday with a co-worker and he was agreeing with me about the same issues I have been noticing. It is very … VERY … frustrating to be in the middle of a workout and having to stop, or take a break, not because you are winded, but because your body is telling you to stop. A FaceBook post by a high school classmate sums it up:
I am too old to be young, and too young to be old
It’s hard to explain to younger people, even those people only 10 years younger, because they don’t get it. It’s especially hard to explain to those that have always been active and have never had to “recover” their younger selves from years of abuse and mishandling.
“If you’re not winded then keep going!” they tell you.
It’s not always that easy.
It’s especially aggravated if you are, like me, overweight. Those that have read this blog for awhile know my history (football back ground, used to be fit, thyroid cancer, gained weight up to 300 pounds, etc.). I explain it to a few teammates this way; you weigh 150 pounds, so let me strap another 150 pounds to you and see if you can still run an 8:30 pace for a half marathon. Doesn’t feel too good does it?
The pounding your body takes while running at this weight level is amazing. According to the website Knee Clinic:
“Biomechanical studies on running reveal the tremendous cyclic forces to which the knee is subjected. The patellar tendon force is around 4.7 to 6.9 times body weight, and patellofemoral joint compressive forces 7.0 to 11.1 times body weight in a jogger.”
So for a man 5’10 and in their proper weight zone (170 pounds) this is around 799 to 1173 pound of force. Now on my part, 5’10 and 240 pounds, this is 1128 to 1656 pounds. Add to that my age (49) and the fact that I have had knee injuries and surgery, you can see the difference.
Biking and cycling are better choices for people of my size, but even there you have issues. A true bike, like a TT or Road Bike, is built to move your body forward to equalize the weight distribution from all on the butt, to the butt, legs, and arms. Fine and Dandy for the little rubber people but for the bigger ones of us this puts a lot of weight on the shoulders, hands, and wrists. We combat that with gloves and shaking them out a lot, but shoulder fatigue always sets in.
I am currently reading a book called “Cycle Your Way Lean” by Selene Yeager and she does a great job in explaining the issues the larger cyclists faces, many of which I didn’t even think about (mostly regarding the fact that carbon seat posts and wheels are only meant for people up to 230 pounds). If you are like me, and hell, just needing to lose a few lb’s, this is a pretty good read.
She also gives MANY first hand accounts on people in the 250 to 300+ pound range that took up cycling and how it benefitted them in the long haul. It’s pretty inspiring. Much more so than watching the olympics.
Let me be clear here that I watch the olympics religiously, and their stories are VERY inspiring for the most part, but I know that I will never be at that level; cycling, running, or swimming. I find great pleasure in watching these athletes move with such grace and ease, but if I need to be inspired, I watch the para-olympic games. I cannot grasp the fact that these athletes face such tremendous odds and still compete. I am not sure I could do it. I also find great inspiration from athletes like LoLo who fought their way out of poverty to be where they are, and not only be there, but take care of their families along the way. A true american hero.
So much of me wants to go back in time and tell my younger self to stay on top of my health. It makes me sad to watch my 17 year old son sitting in his room playing video games for 8 hours a day (probably more) because I know my genes are in him, and the weight (God forbid the cancer) gain is in his future. I try to impart this “wisdom” on him, that this is the time to be active, to be out running, cycling, swimming. He wants NO part of it, and in fact HATES me doing it too. At some point I know he’ll snap out of it and realize Dad did know something, and that Dad is putting in this time and effort so he can see him get married and have children.
I hope one day he sees that.
And I am doing everything I can to still be here when he does ….