Slowing Down the Aging Process

Becoming a triathlete was a positive step for me. I was simply following my wife’s lead. Mary launched a brand new fitness/exercise chapter in her own life, five years ago, when a group of co-workers competed in the Pirate Tri that year at Point Sebago.

Two years ago, she began training with a group of women called sheJAMs. I can say that this has changed her life in a positive way.

Last year, because I decided to stop making excuses, I became a swimmer, long after old dogs learn new tricks. Swimming is something I have come to appreciate and even enjoy. It’s a fitness activity I should be able do for the rest of my life that’s also good for me.

My first Pirate Tri in 2013 was just about finishing. This year, I was hoping to improve on my time.

I’m happy to report that my 2014 swim was a good one, shaving nearly three minutes off my 2013 time. My bike and run weren’t as good. My transitions between swimming, biking, and running were train wrecks. I need to get better at these if I have any hope of positively impacting my time in future triathlons.

You get to wear bathing caps.

You get to wear bathing caps.

Aging in America gets talked about a lot. There are proposed solutions that don’t address what one important aspect of aging is all about—the atrophying of our physical bodies. Maintaining a healthy weight, along with making sure you don’t lose muscle mass are important elements of maintaining physical vigor as you enter your 50s and approach the sunset years of your life.

What training for and participating in triathlons has been teaching me is that this is one way I can slow down aging and prolong vitality. It’s not easy. I’ve had a few bumps and setbacks along the way. However, I can’t help noticing that there are men and women 10, 15, and even 20 years older than me who are posting times much better than my own.

Rack 'em!!

Rack ’em!!

Yesterday, Bob Murray, a man in his 60s that I know, completed his tri in 1:28. This is remarkable. Bob and his partner, Marcia Feller—another SheJAMs member—are looking to compete in the nationals in their age division. I hope Mary and I are able to do the same in another 10 years.

I spent a number of evenings in March and April swimming at the Greely High School pool, doing my twice weekly workouts in preparation for yesterday. Two SheJAMs swimmers I’d see nearly every Monday and Wednesday at 5:00, Cathy Peabody, and Heather Sheriff Gosch, also rocked it hard yesterday at Point Sebago.

While others neglect their physical bodies as they get older, there’s a group that are swimming against society’s current—committed to kicking ass as they get older. I’m glad I’m part of that contingent.

I have something to keep working towards. That in itself is a way to remain young.

A fitness sisterhood-Mary, Cathy, and Heather.

A fitness sisterhood-Mary, Cathy, and Heather.

4 thoughts on “Slowing Down the Aging Process

  1. Congratulations on taking part in the competition…which is the one we wage against ourselves as we grow older. You are correct that one must “keep moving” to keep the body limber. Aunt Tomato has a great workout for those not so inclined to don a swim cap and wetsuit. Good job!

  2. Thanks, JAB. Competing against myself is a new thing. Speaking of workouts and Aunt Tomato, the farmers where we will be getting our farm share, ReTreeUS, just sent out their newsletter. Moriah Salter has a workout incorporating yoga into the work of gardening. I thought this was really innovative. Gotta’ “keep on moving” for sure!

  3. Moving is important, and so is not parking your bike headfirst. But where’s the strength piece? Bicycling, swimming and running are all easier with more strength, the bigger the engine, the less it has to work to produce the same results. Not to knock what you’ve achieved, not hardly, but I’d bet that if you took three months away and did Rippetoe’s Starting Strength cycle, for example, you’d come back and blow your current records away in the autumn. Plus strength carries over into so many other aspects of your life.

    Don’t know if it will help with the wetsuit transition, though, short of you tearing it off like Hulk.

  4. This was a great post! I remember asking you a question in the water before the swim….you seemed so calm, cool & collected:) My swim was SLOW and my transitions questionable but it was a blast. Keep up the training & the FUN!!

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