I’ve had a habit around each birthday to review where I’m at with my exercise addiction. This past week was the 58th. I bought myself a Canon SL2 and Emily made me a fabulous Black Forest cake. So time for an update.
I started on the hard stuff at 53. I’d done some exercise before that - mostly road biking, nordic skiing, inline skating and other soft stuff. At 53 though, I fell into CrossFit. Actually, I was pushed. By a friend.
Four and a half years later I’m 58 and I’m still a regular at CrossFit St Paul. I average 3-4 CF workouts a week, mountain bike 1-2 times a week, and do 1-2 days a week of recovery weights or road biking or ice hockey or nordic skiing.
I’ve had soft tissue strains and pains from all of those things, but by now I’m good at rehab. I have a suite that covers hamstring/gluteal/“piriformis”, lower back strain, shoulder things, achilles stuff, chondromalacia patellae and more. “More” includes a familial arthritis syndrome affecting my hands and knees. Sooner or later that will do me in, but hydroxychloroquine seems to slow the progression. When it was diagnosed 2 years ago I figured I’d be out of CF by now, but the arthritis hasn't been a big deal yet.
I work the rehab into my workouts. It’s all one thing. Mostly I’m pretty good.
Over time I lost about 20 lbs of fat and gained about 5 lbs of muscle. Alas, at 58 I have no more muscle stem cells — those seem to go away in the 30s. I may yet get a bit stronger with practice, but not a lot. I’ve bumped up some of my weightlifting records, but recently my overhead squat and snatch have sucked. Seems the small amount of muscle I added to my shoulders came along with decreased range of shoulder motion. Gives me something else to work on.
I still can’t do consecutive double-unders, I have to mix singles and dubs. I may set a record for longest time practicing without success. It’s a coordination thing — I’ve always been clumsy but age sucks. I’ll try a fourth jump rope; some say a slower, heavier rope works better for the old. I have a rope for every occasion now.
I haven’t been able to do a muscle-up - neither bar nor ring. I work on it. Maybe someday.
I got into this to keep my formerly bad back better and because the only things that seem to slow dementia onset are sleep and exercise. I need to slow the dementia - family circumstances mean my brain has to work until about 85, when I can finally keel over and die. It’s too early to tell if it works for the dementia, but my back is pretty good.
Happily I enjoy CrossFit. I travel for work and always drop in on a CF gym — they are almost everywhere (not Hot Springs South Dakota though). I’m almost resigned to being the slowest and weakest person in the box.
It’s a living.