Adventures In Running and Ageing

 In Health, pensioners

I am relaxing these days reading a book to Ann, in bed. Firstly, she bought me the book for my 77th birthday. Secondly, she still refuses to believe that I am 77, that it is some sort of dream. Reality is not superabundant in our home. The book is called Adventures in Running and Ageing and written by an aged runner called Philip Jones. Each chapter outlines the significant decline in various parts of our body as we age. However, towards the end of each chapter, Ann and I silently implore the author to gives us some hope that we can reverse the decline. He is rarely able to do this except to say that exercise is good. Keep that body moving and as slim and fit as you can is the principal message.

The body

What comes out of the book is how amazing our bodies are. That we get moving at all is staggering let alone that we can still be running at an advanced age. This resonates with me because I have been reading other blog posts about preparing for retirement . Those tend to highlight how essential your health is when you reach retirement age. The next three decades require vitality and that means focussing on finding some purpose in retirement, a reason to get out of bed. However, Philip Jones reminds us that old people can run. That message is counter to the general view that we are all senile and suffering a variety of comorbidities. It is essential to snap out of the view that retirement is rest, leisure, relaxing, time on the beach and in the sun. Yes, those dreams are perfectly feasible provided you remain fit and well.

Adventures in running and ageing

I live in Hope. Well, not exactly as Hope Village is a couple of miles away. It is also, Philip reminds us, where they used to run the Grim Reaper Race. It appears the runners headed out onto the hills followed by a runner acting as the Grim Reaper. If he caught you up then you were out of the race. I could laugh at that but I also see the relative truth in this parody. Your speed, you see, is closely related to your funeral. The slower you walk then the sooner the Grim Reaper grabs you, it’s that simple. The nimble walker and the runner stay out front and become mourners at other people’s funerals. Read this book and you will be amazed at what your body can become, a lean machine.

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