By John Jewell
Here we go again! Another year is upon us, another season beckons, new goals loom on the horizon. It is time to assess, reassess, and make new commitments. Whether beginners or seasoned athletes, looking at where we are and where we want to go is a critical part of getting and staying fit.
My own first season was a joy, but there were some good times and some not as good times. In the midst of a horrendous seven mile climb on my second-to- last ride of the season, I bonked. I mean rubber legged, walking my bike to the crest, low blood sugar dizziness, cussing out the course, macho busting BONKED! I'm thinking, "Damn this rid. I'm never doing this stinking ride again!"
Finally I'm on the flats leading to the last SAG stop and I got dizzy again as a big 'ol black pickup truck went by pretty close, I could feel the push of his wind. I'm technically diabetic and figured my blood sugar had gotten too low. I hated it, it was a tough pill to swallow, but with my riding buddy's encouragement, I made a decision to live to ride another day and sagged. Man I hated that. I was well read on the subject, knew all the right stuff in my head - but bonked nonetheless. I called my wife on my cell to fill her in and she asked what all of us have asked at one time or another and what virtually all bystanders ask folks like us, "Why the hell do you do this stuff?" (She is very supportive, but gets worried now and then and it was her worry talking. Next time I will leave out the part about the pickup truck.)
So why do we do it? And if you are thinking about doing it...why should you do it? And if you've ever had a bad day, or week, or even season...why would you do it again? I'll tell you why. I just turned 66 and I feel way-the-heck better, way-the-heck younger, and way-the-heck more energetic than I did when I was 36! In fact, if you are anywhere near Southwest Wisconsin, maybe you want to join me on that same stinking ride next year. Yup - I'm going to do it again. It's called "The Wright Stuff Century."
I love triathlon and fell in love with cycling this year, but unlike Lance (in many ways!) I'm not ready to trade triathlon for cycling full time. The complete training that triathlon requires is absolutely the best for a fitness lifestyle.
For 2005, my two key goals beyond the triathlons and rides I am looking at are: 1. Get off my cholesterol medication - my doc approves of the trial since I dropped from 245 to 155 total cholesterol level. and 2. Complete certification as a personal trainer so I can work with midlife and older on the joy of living fit.
Here are the ten things I have listed on a poster in my workout area at home - ten great incentives to make my resolutions and training for this year stick.(The poster sits beside my poster of Floyd Landis with his face reflecting "quads on fire" as he climbs a horrendous hill. When I look at that poster, I'm good for just a few more yards, or a few more steps, or one more impossible rep on the quad extension.)
WHY AM I DOING THIS?
Regular exercise can help improve my mood through the release of endorphins and serotonin. (Who isn't up for free pain killers and mood enhancing drugs?)
Regular exercise is a natural stress reducer and sleep aid.
Aerobic exercise helps me maintain healthy body composition. (Weight control)
Aerobic exercise can help me reduce the risk of coronary artery disease.
Jogging, walking and weight training all help to strengthen my skeletal system. (Weight training helps increase mineral density in the bones.)
Aerobic exercise can help control my type 2 diabetes. (For many persons reducing and even eliminating the need for medication - I myself do not need to take medication.)
Weight training can strengthen my ligaments and tendons.
Weight training can help in the reduction of lower back pain.
Aerobic exercise and weight training can help increase the range of motion of my joints.
Aerobic exercise will lead to a reduction in my resting heart rate. (A more efficient heart that is working less.)
Bottom line - whether a beginner, a seasoned athlete or someone coming off a relapse - the joy of a fitness lifestyle is a huge reward. You get there by beginning where you are and picking it up a notch or two. Grant Breese and Dean White say it well in their book, Basic Pumping Iron, "Over the past 20 years a considerable amount of research has testified to the effect exercise has on both physical and psychological well being. Exercise has been linked to positive changes in mood, self-esteem, self-confidence, improved satisfaction with body image and appearance, and decreased feelings of stress, anxiety, and tension."
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