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35 – Exercise and aging

6 February, 2012

At 74-years old, these are your legs on triathlon

If I am going to have a fruitful day I know it already when I wake up and I feel energetic and willing to exercise. If I indeed exercise before breakfast and sitting in front of a pc, my energy levels, both mental and physical, will be higher for the rest of the day

Waking up with the desire of exercise and move depend of the quantity of movement (multiplied with integral of factorial constant K, added logarithm d’antani, but here I’m simplifying) of the previous day. If I moved enough, I may have sore muscles, but I will have plenty of energy too. If not, maybe I will not feel any pain, but I will be lazy and slack.

It work this way for everyone. Mens sana in corpore sano: the physical activity is the base of a healthy life. DIt was supposed to be the subject of my degree thesis, but in 1995 (or 1996) in the Faculty of philosophy in the Catholic University of Milan, there was not a Professor willing to sustain it, so I had to resort in a more empiric “Sport informations in internet age. The case of Gazzetta.it”.

Unfortunately I grew up in an environment where sports practice was never encouraged, but at least not forbidden. And among my worst flaws, there has always been fickleness. That’s why, even if I always believed, resting first of all on my personal experience, in the value of physical education and exercise, to date I alternate periods, that can last days, weeks or months long, where I exercise regularly and others where I let my self down, accumulating stress and becoming passive.

When I quit playing football and start working at home were my hardest moments. The gym is just too boring for me and running is something that rarely excite me. My last years have been my best. Since I discovered yoga and began to care of my nutrition, not only I have recovered from years of sedentary life, but I reached new goals I honestly couldn’t imagine were possible for a 40 years old.

As example in the last months I increased the volume of my thoracic cage just after few months regular practice of push ups inserted in my yoga routine.

These are 74-years old legs of a sedentary man. Can you see the difference?

This scientific study prove it clearly: the common observation that muscle mass and strength decline as a function of aging alone. Instead, these declines may signal the effect of chronic disuse rather than muscle aging.

Look at the pictures of the 74-years old triathlete and sedentary men. If this doesn’t gives you reasons to exercise regularly, I don’t know what else can do it. Let me go beyond thus: regular exercise is the base of happiness. If your body is awake, soon will be your mind. Problems become smaller, you are more free of external conditions, you naturally turn proactive.

Few days ago I came back on a healthy daily dose of exercise, thanks also because I joined a new “challenge” in the website Personal Excellence. I could have easily used the excuse of the extreme cold weather in these days in Milan, instead these turned into an opportunity to explore new territories and learn something new about me and my body. I’ll finish with a quote of my yesterday log from the website.

After too much rest during the day (it was my laziest day of the year, where I managed to play anyway with my WII), Saturday night I felt hyperactive, I walked around home, played some tai chi, stretched a lot and fell asleep only at 3am.
Today I was up at 9 anyway and few minutes after 10 I went for a jog-walk in the park. It was pale sunny with some very light snow, so around 0 C.
Being Sunday morning the park was very crowded of runners and it was simply beautiful. It’s much easier exercise in such stimulating environment.
The other good thing was I never felt cold a second, my body is fully adapted to the new climate, after living 14 months in tropical climates, with low in 20s C.
I put on my MBT shoes, that are as ugly as effective. I run 12 minutes, then again 5′, the rest of the time I walked. I tracked my effort with an i-pod app called “pedometro” which reported at the end: 6029 steps, 4,3km, 218 calories burned in 46,15 minutes.
Later I weighted on my WII and today my WII Fit age was 24 and my BMI was 22,85, that mean 0,9kg less than yesterday. While I know I should take all this datas with a grain of salt, because this apps-wii are not very precise and body weight can fluctuate around 1kg during the day, BMI without fat mass % doesn’t say a lot , etc. this was unexpected, because I have ingested really lots of fat calories in the last days.
So I did again today at lunch, with meat lasagna, a glass of wine and tiramisù. Afternoon was quiet, now I have just finished 35′ of a good yoga routine. My body was a bit sore because it was at least 3 weeks I wasn’t going for a run, but overall strong. Headstand felt more stable than usual.
I’m almost back to the routine and physical shape I lost when I left Cali, travelling a lot, then getting sick in Venezuela and Aruba, and the necessary time to readjust to the cold winter climate. Next week I just want to keep on track and find time for meditation too.

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