It was a typical summer night recently as myself and a group of friends and family sat around enjoying some great local beer. As it often seems to do with any group of people over 40 nowadays, the conversation turned to a rundown of everyone’s current health issues. These ranged from chronic back, foot, knee and neck pain to high cholesterol, high blood pressure, arthritis, high blood sugar, kidney problem’s, surgeries and all the various medications everyone’s on. After quite awhile of this medical “seminar”, a long time friend and career firemen turned to me and asked, “PJ, what about you?” During this I hadn’t said much of anything (rare for me). I answered honestly; “I’m fine I don’t have anything going on.” That drew blank (and kind of pissed) looks from everyone. “Well,” my cousin said, “He wouldn’t admit it if he had a problem.” That seemed to set everyone at ease that I couldn’t really be that healthy, It was that I just wasn’t admitting it? Yeah Ok.
The fact is at age 54 I don’t have any real health issues (knock on my wooden head), never have. Other than some bent up feet from years of Marine Corps life, nothing. Why? Luck? Good genes? Some of both I’m sure, but I have to believe that working hard at staying in shape all my life had something to do with it. Make no mistake, I’m no saint: I drank my share of beer, and experienced all the stress, lack of sleep and hard work that anyone will experience during a long military career. The difference was that I never really let myself go, never threw the age or rank card, I just kept going. At times I was ridiculed for PTing on the ship, or when we were traveling, on liberty or deployed forward. The fact is I still get this from people my age; “Slow down, what are you trying to prove?” “Your not on active duty any more.”
That’s right I’m not active duty anymore, I don’t have to pass a PFT or a weigh in (though I could easily) but the fact is I still have to live, and to live the way I want to, I need great health and real fitness. The point of all this? To make a simple, but important observation; to achieve and maintain health and fitness takes a long term commitment, and it doesn’t stop at a certain age, when you graduate college, retire from the military, or even when you sign up for social security. It’s an everyday, life long habit.
Yes, I know, we all are going to get old, and sick at some point, that’s life, and none of us will escape it. However with some consistent effort and a little discipline in your life, you can enjoy the benefits of a healthy, fit body for a long, long time, and this doesn’t take a lot of time when you get down to it either. In my book “Corps Strength” I lay out a simple and proven effective fitness plan that takes no more than about five hours a week, and can been used by anyone of any age to get and stay in great shape. It’s never too late to start. Its my plan to stay in the best possible shape until the day they plant my ass, and it doesn’t include any time for sitting round and talking about my health issues. What about your plan? Take care and be safe.