There are times when someone will remark that they feel reluctant to start working out because they think they might be too old. They wonder if it’s worth the trouble and if they really can effect the kind of change they’d like. I understand the sentiment and the worry that maybe the time for action has passed but there is another, much better way to illuminate the issue which leads directly to the conclusion that it’s never too late in life to start improving your fitness level.
I’ll tell you an illustrative story. My mother was a chemist. She got her degree back in the days when women were discouraged from seeking degrees let alone careers in the hard sciences. She worked as a researcher in Infectious Diseases at UCSF (University of California, San Francisco) for 30 years. She had a long, interesting career investigating Legionnaires Disease, Trachoma and AIDS (she was around in the early days when the first cases were just being identified and the cause/methods of transmission were still a mystery).
As it got closer to her time for retirement she decided that although she was content to leave UCSF she wasn’t ready to stop working. She applied for admission to a local university that had courses designed for working adults and proceeded to pursue an accounting degree. Just about the time she’d made it halfway to graduation I overheard a conversation she was having with a friend. Her friend was asking her why she was going for another degree when she wasn’t a young woman and it was going to take her a full five years to complete the coursework. She replied “So what? Time is going to pass no matter what I do. The only question is if I’ll be five years older with an accounting degree or five years older without one.”
Now what can you say to that? She was right. Nobody can stop time. We will get older, no doubt about it. The real question is what you want to accomplish in life. If you truly want to get fit at 40, 50, 60 or 70 then start moving in that direction. Realistically, you may not be able to achieve a physique like Cory Everson at her best but you’ll no doubt be closer than you are at the start of your journey. Just like every other goal you want to meet in life, you have to put in effort to make it happen. Being of advanced age is not a good excuse. It’s just a way to make yourself feel better about avoiding the inevitable work you have to put in, but ask yourself…in 5 years do you want to be older and more fit or older and less fit? The choice is entirely in your hands.
*Despite being 60 years old by the time she graduated, my mother got her accounting degree and despite conventional wisdom that says companies won’t hire older people she earned a coveted position at a major accounting firm in San Francisco. She taught me by example that although age, race and gender sometimes create barriers, you must NEVER use them as an excuse not to push forward. Doing so simply means you’ve defeated yourself. Doing so means your own mind crippled your chances before the world ever put a single stumbling block in your path.*