Thursday, February 19, 2009

Birthday burpees

I turned 48 years young today. To celebrate I decided to end my workout with a single set of 48 burpees. I got the inspiration for this from my friend and fellow middle age fitness dude blogger, Ed Pierini. He turned 54 today. He set himself a more difficult task. Starting in January he did 54 burpees at the end of each workout, Monday through Friday with the caveat that if he didn't do burpees, he didn't eat the next day. Maybe I will do something like that when I turn 50. Or maybe not.

I'm well acquainted with burpees. On the average week I do burpees of one variety or another 5 times doing anywhere from 50 to 100 during a workout. How many depends on what else I do and the variety of burpee since some are more challenging than others. I usually do them in sets of ten except for the hardcore burpees of which I generally do 5-7 in a set. This particular burpee involves jumping forward and onto something and then jumping back far enough from the object to perform another one without hitting your head on whatever it is you were jumping on. These will take it out of you quick. If you don't believe me, try it.

Since I was going to do burpees at the end of my workout, I didn't add them to my circuits as usual. I just saved them for one set at the end. I did 10 circuits of 10 each lunges, pushups, mountain climbers, and hindu squats. For the mathematically challenged that's 100 of each exercise all done non stop. I did 100 flutter kicks after my circuits and then it was time for the burpees.

I just did the standard burpee. After 20, I was mentally congratulating Ed for making the commitment and sticking to it. And wondering why I thought I should do such a thing. I started making the dying walrus noises at about 35. When I hit the 48th one, I checked the time and found I completed the task in 3'50". I was hoping for 4 minutes but didn't think I would make it. Going all out when fresh I generally can get 14 to 15 on a one minute timer so I was trying for an average of 12 per minute. I made it. After checking the time, I did another 2 just to  make it an even 50.

I can smell my birthday dinner cooking and it smells good. I'm starving. And I do plan on indulging in a piece of chocolate since it is my birthday. But only a small one.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Aging and Exercise

I went to a funeral service today for a dear old friend who passed away at the age of 96. He lived on his own until about 3 years ago. His family moved him into a nursing home and he was pretty much bedridden the last couple of years. I think the reason he stayed vigorous as long as he did was do to two things: 1) he ate a healthy predominantly vegetarian diet and 2) he worked hard most of his life. He was quite an athlete as a youngster and was a farmer and did manuel labor. He was in good physical condition. It was only when he stopped being active that he started to significantly decline. He was a good man and I will miss him.

We will all get old if we live long enough. But aging is another story. We can do things to slow down the aging process. Two things we can do are to eat healthy and exercise. What constitutes a healthy diet is debatable. Ask 100 different "experts" and you will likely get 100 different answers. However, if you look at the diets of the longest lived people groups in the world right now, you will find they share some common traits. They eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, they eat whole grains, and they don't consume a lot of meat. Read the book, "Healthy at 100" for a better more comprehensive look. They also stayed active throughout their lives. They may officially retire but they continue to do something. Inactivity kills more retired people than anything else I think.

I have no desire to be old and in a nursing home. Someday it may happen but I plan to put it off as long as possible. That's why I watch what I eat and make exercise a priority in my life. I do hope to grow old but they will have to drag me kicking and screaming into the whole againg thing. I won't go down without a fight.

When Moses died after leading the children of Israel out of Egypt, the Bible says in Deuteronomy 34:7 "And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated." It's a bit late for my eyesight but I plan on keeping my natural force as long as I can.

One of the 12 spies Moses sent out was Caleb. He was 40 at the time. He said in Joshua 14:10 and 11, "And now, behold, the Lord hath kept me alive, as He said, these 40 and 5 years, even since the Lord spake this word unto Moses, while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness: and now, lo, I am this day fourscore and five years old. As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in."

These are the examples of aging that I want to emulate. I won't be able to do it sitting on my rear end watching TV.