Taking care of myself physically has always been a goal area for me. I think ever since I was a competitive swimmer I have had not just a desire, but a need for physical activity. As I have aged, I have tried to adapt my activities so as to promote health and well being, and not injury. Even so, I have managed to accumulate a number of nicks and dings along the way. The torn cartilage in my knee, and the subsequent micro-fracturing surgery, is the only limitation on my movement-I’m not supposed to run.
I am a 54 year old male. I am 6’6″ tall and currently weigh 217 pounds. In the past year I have been as low as 210 pounds and as high as 226. Before hernia surgery last month I was given a physical, a stress test, and a number of blood tests. Everything checked out normal. My cholesterol at the time was 154. I consider myself a vegetarian, and have, with the exception of some fish while living on Cayman Island, and a few times here at home, been one for six or seven years(I honestly can’t remember exactly when I made the switch).
I know what high level fitness feels like. When I was a swimmer a million years ago (I retired at 15) I felt so good! I could do just anything too at the drop of a hat. I want to feel like that again. It is my intention to get into the best possible shape that I can.
Typically, weight is used as a measure of health, but I have never felt that was a good measure. Take the body mass index (BMI), for example.
I’m not alone in thinking it is not a great tool for measuring fitness. Take Dr. Charles Seltzer in his article, “BMI Chart For Men: Is BMI Misleading?” He states, “And while BMI may be acceptable to studying groups of people, its application to individuals is limited, as there are numerous significant flaws in using this number and other, much better options exist.”
Based on the chart above I’m borderline overweight at 217 pounds. You wouldn’t think that to look at me, and here’s the thing. I intend to add weight not lose it. Well, I’d like to replace some of my weight with muscle, anyway. When I graduated college I weighed 230 pounds. Before I break my arm patting myself on the back I should not that I believe some of the 15 pound difference between then and now was made up of muscle mass that I have lost over time. I’m getting that back!
So, to gauge progress in the fitness department I will rely on gains in strength, in endurance, and in flexibility. Oh sure, I’ll probably look at the scale every now and again too, but it won’t be the only measure.
I’m not big into the notion that the reason I am doing this is for vanity’s sake. I wish I could say it didn’t matter to me at all, but that would be a lie. I’d like to try to look at any progress in that regard as a byproduct rather than a goal. That’s why there will be no before and after shots here. This is about aging well, staying active, and avoiding injury.
Stay tuned for Baseline Fitness Data. Gotta start somewhere!