We all age, but there are ways to age gracefully. To be “bulletproof” is to work to improve your health in ways that will offer you protection from illness and injury, while at the same time extending your ability to do the things you love.
Am I a little ready for a beer? I’m not even waiting until tomorrow to publish this week’s results. I think I can be excused under the circumstances. How many times is there an insurrection in the halls of congress during a pandemic the week before a new president is inaugurated?
I titled this week bulletproof precisely because that is so exactly what I am not! Oh sure, vanity plays a role in my motivation to carry on this experiment, but if I’m honest, it pales in comparison to my desire to eliminate as much weakness from my system as is possible. I don’t necessarily mean I need to be strong, I mean I need system wide protection. I am starting to have quite a collection of what I call, “nicks and dings.” I like to tell others that the engine is running fine, it’s the tires that continue to need fixing. Take a look:
- Inguinal hernia repair both right(2020) and left(2008)
- Torn cartilage micro-fracture repair left knee(2014)(no walking 3 months, crutches 3 months)
- Torn right bicep repair(2015)
- Torn right rotator cuff repair(2015)(no use of arm for months)
- CIV(Chronic Venous Insufficiency) repair-complete with leg ulcers(2018-19)repair
- Chronic back issues(in my view chronic back weakness)-(2008-2018)
When taking in that list it would be fair to assume I probably look a bit like Frankenstein and played professional hockey with no equipment. I don’t and I didn’t. What I find interesting is that it wasn’t until I was 42, in 2008, that I ever had any problems whatsoever.
Here’s the thing, I was indoctrinated into extreme exercise at age 6. That’s when I started competitive swimming. Five nights of two hour practices followed by meets on weekends, year round. By the time I “retired” to play basketball in high school I was doing two-a-days with weight training and light swimming in the mornings, and full on practice in the afternoons. I have never been able to let that go. Make no mistake I’m no athlete, but I am athletic.
My wife likes to joke that everyone should lay down on the floor every day and get back up to a standing position because you don’t ever want to lose that. We say the same thing about stairs. If you buy a house without stairs then you run the risk of losing the ability to climb and descend them. I know this from experience. I have already lost running. With the cartilage injury and repair I could risk running, but why? I’ve replaced my love of running with the lower impact joys of cycling, skating, and swimming. My attempt at making myself bulletproof is just another version of getting up off the floor.
If you look at the literature that is out there the best way to make yourself bulletproof is to maintain a healthy weight by eating in a healthy manner(I did not use the word DIET-that’s a 4 letter word!), to exercise in ways that maintains and improves strength, flexibility, and cardio-vascular health, to limit your intake of naughty stuff(you don’t need me to tell you what that naughty stuff is!), to sleep, to laugh, to have good friends, and to find joy in what you do. There are probably others, but you get the gist. Knowing this, here’s my progress for week 3:
As I write this I’m chuckling to myself because my right knee hurts-not the bad one. I’ve taken to wearing a compression sleeve when I workout or skate. Just another ding. Maybe in 10 days when I crack that first beer, I’ll put it up and relax, but not today.
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