Who Says You Are Too Old!

by DavalosMcCormack on August 3, 2010

There is a phrase that I hear a lot at the gym these days. It usually involves someone, typically over the age of 35,  sitting on a chair or stool, red faced and sweaty at the end of a workout, saying variations on “Oh man, I’m too old for this.” The “this” in question can be anything from tennis or running to basketball, swimming or squash. But while the sport may vary the reason behind the statement does not – the body in question has taken a beating and doesn’t want to do it any more.

Foot wrapped in bandages


But here’s the amazing part. Next time I go to the gym I see those same fellows – and it’s always men because they don’t allow women in our locker room and for some reason the club won’t allow me in the women’s locker room to see if the same thing happens there  – doing the same activity, hurling their body around and bruising and battering it all over again.

Too old for what?

There’s an almost ritualistic quality to it. They tell themselves they are too old to do that kind of physical activity, and then go out and do it any way to prove they are not too old, or maybe just to say “Well, I may be too old but what the heck it’s too much fun to stop now.” It’s as if they are using the notion of “too old” to psych themselves up for the activity.

None of us are kidding ourselves that running or swimming or biking or playing basketball are age-defying activities. Our knees and backs and and ankles are constant reminders that we are not turning back the clock, that we no longer bounce back as quickly as we used to, that the things we could get away with in our youth no longer apply. Instead there’s a kind of wonderful “oh heck, who gives a tinker’s curse” approach. Everything wears out sooner or later and the more you do the greater the odds are that it will be later. And even if it isn’t then at least you can have fun along the way.

There’s endless studies out there that show if you exercise regularly you are better able to cope with stress, less likely to get heart disease or diabetes or even cancer, more likely to lead a longer, better quality life.

But to be honest, I’ve never heard anyone in the gym lift a weight and says “take that cancer” or chase a ball in tennis or basketball and say “wow, this greatly reduces the likelihood that I might develop type 2 diabetes in the upcoming year”. No, most people are doing what they are doing because they enjoy what they do or how it makes them feel.

Ice ice baby!

There’s a kind of camaraderie among us, sitting around after a tough workout,

Leg with ice on it

Ankle, on the rocks!

bags of ice strapped to different parts of our body, trying to calm down the flaring and inflamed muscles and tendons and whatever else we injured.

It’s almost as if there’s an unspoken agreement among us. Yeah, we probably are too old for this. But what the heck, see you next time.

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