What numbers matter

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What numbers matter?

We measure everything. Weight, waist circumference, body fat, calories consumed, distance run, elevation gained, pounds lost, revolutions per minute. Age.

That last one is a funny one.

When we are young we believe we have plenty of time to get fit, lose weight, run, ride, get to the gym, improve our health and then we don’t.

When we get older we start thinking that it is too late to change or make a difference.

Except it is not.

Age is just another number, we can’t change it, but it is not the best measure of your health or your fitness abilities. Maybe we should start thinking about age a little differently. It is useful, but not definitive.

I was thinking about this recently when I saw a few rock stars of aging set some new records.

Ed Whitlock set a new mile record for those over 85. He ran the mile in 7:18:22 and in May set a new half marathon record of 1 hour, 50 minutes and 47 seconds, he wasn’t that happy about it. He said his training hasn’t been that great lately and he was hoping for a faster time. He said his joints have been aching a little lately and about 15 years ago his doctor told him he would have to quit running. He didn’t pay attention to that advice and says he listens to his body and makes sure he gets enough rest. He doesn’t take any supplements or train with any gadgets, trackers or people. He just runs, regularly and to compete.


Ernestine Shepherd turned 80 last week. She is the oldest female bodybuilder. She started training at 56 after a trip to buy a swimsuit resulted in her and her sister deciding they needed to get in shape. She never exercised before, but now she runs 80 miles a week and can bench press 150 pounds. She gets up at 3:00 AM and runs 10 miles before going to the gym and working as a personal trainer. She says her secret is never giving up and clean eating.


Or Charles Eugster, a retired dentist who took up running and rowing at the age of 85 when he noticed he was putting on weight. At 87 he started weight lifting. Now 96, he has been working on getting his “beach body” ready for summer. He is also the World Masters Rowing Champion, the European Masters Decathlete Champion, the Swiss National Fitness Champion and a Masters bodybuilding champion. He says “In my opinion, you can rebuild your body at any age. You can learn something new or start a new life at any age.” Earlier this year, he obliterated the 95 and over world indoor record for the 200 meters.


When are you old? When you can’t function independently? When you hit a certain age? Do you think that old is a number? Or a feeling? Do you blame your poor fitness on your age?

Sorry. It is you not your age.

You may not be able to change your chronological age, but you can change your fitness age. Take the Fitness Age test and find out how fit are you, really? And remember age is no excuse.

Change your mind, change your health,




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