Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Growing Old Disgracefully

Ian 'The Machine' Freeman.

A couple of weekends ago, at the grand age of 40, he came out of retirement to regain his British Light Middleweight Cage Fight title from someone ten years his junior. He looked awesome and his fitness was outstanding. He kept grounding and pounding for three five minute rounds and was still fresh as a daisy at the end - much to the astonishment of the commentators.

It seems to me that age is very much a mental issue and, once we reach our mid-thirties, we can go one of two ways.

The first, easiest option is to let ourselves go because it's too much effort to maintain both our body and our mindset.

It is at this time that a man's physique, particularly, starts to change. Where once he could eat what he liked and be sure it would burn off through his natural activity, suddenly this is no longer the case. His slowing metabolism means that a beer belly begins to appear and he starts to lose the definition in his face. An extra chin softens the previously square line of his jaw.

For women, childbearing followed by the advent of the menopause can be equally as problematic. Hips that once were slender have been widened by the passage of children, before becoming a depository for the leftover kids' teas she can't help finishing through boredom and because it's such a waste to just throw it away. Even though she knows she will be sitting down to eat a proper dinner with her partner in two hours. And then she is hit by hormonal changes which, unexpectedly, wreak havoc on even the most svelte and active ladies.

Faced with circumstances that seem to be beyond our control, we can allow ourselves to wander off down the path of self-indulgence. Lying on the sofa being a couch potato, waving goodbye to our once prolific libido and settling for the sporadic comfort of a monthly investigation of the missionary position.

They always say 'Use it or lose it'. And this applies to all the best things in life. If we become stale and blubbery and unhappy, our lust for life starts to dissipate. We become too tired for activities that we once embraced with relish. Cutting back on the things that stimulate us leads to decreasing endorphins and feel-good factor, opening the way to depression.

We need to look at the alternative route to middle age, take ourselves by the scruff of the neck and look after what we have been given. Keep it trim. Exercise and watch what we eat. Walk or cycle when we could have driven. Take up a hobby that will stretch and challenge us, both physically and mentally. And start introducing some excitement into our bedrooms - whether it be by looking at different positions in a partnership or just investing in some new toys for solo pursuits.

Even if some of the more taxing physical hobbies appear to be too excessive, done correctly, stretching and Pilates-style exercises with a Swiss fitball can be invaluable. They have helped me tremendously over the last few months of injury. I feared my toned tummy would disappear and be lost forever but my worries were unfounded as this new, less aerobic regime seems to still be working the required muscles and providing me with at least some form of physical release for all my stresses.

We can't all be Ian Freeman but we can look after what we have in terms of stamina and flexibility. The key is to do some exercise every day and eat healthily at a reasonable hour to allow our digestion to convert the calories effectively into fuel.

Let's confound those who say: "People over 40 shouldn't be having any sex, let alone great sex. They're too old and ugly!"

We should all be sticking up two fingers to our detractors and growing old disgracefully.

I certainly intend to!

Blog every day in May



Vi said...

dont forget the beauty regime as well, look after the skin! It was so flattering to have a 23 year old chasing me...thinking I'm thirty...when I'm nearly 'fit and forty!!!'

BenefitScroungingScum said...

Gym balls shouldn't be underestimated, mine literally got me walking again by allowing me to build up my core stability. I use one instead of a chair to sit at the computer and in fact have had to reduce the time I spend on it because of how much it was exhausting me without my realising for a long time.
I didn't realise you were struggling so much with injury atm, hugs for you, BG x

nitebyrd said...

Let's confound those who say: "People over 40 shouldn't be having any sex, let alone great sex. They're too old and ugly!"

Confound them? Hells Bells! I'd like to kick them in the head as I raise my legs over my partners shoulders!

I shall continue to age very disgracefully but with tremendous satisfaction.

Mr. DNA said...

This post reads like the forward to a self-help book. You should keep writing more on this topic and turn it into a book. Get Ian "The Machine" Freeman to contribute a chapter and it will have the makings of a best seller!

(Just remember, I get 5%)

Anonymous said...

I refuse to stop having fun, just because I'm over 40. Here's to growing old disgracefully!

Walker said...

Age is a number and I will always treat it as such.
I laughed at a commercial the other day for Cialis I think. something like Viagra. At the end it said to consult your doctor to see if you should be having sex at our age.
Fuck them, when i stop wanting sex then shoot me then don;t send me to the doctor for permission.

You are as old as you want to be not act the age people think you should act.

Brian said...

You're only as old as the person you feel. In my case she's currently 29. :-P

Z said...

(Looks carefully at non-toned body in mirror. Seriously considers exercise. Shudders. Decides to be thankful for many stairs and good genes but thinks that maybe one piece of cream cake yesterday would have been enough)

Seriously, I think the best thing about getting older has been getting to like my body better, even if it's no longer as taut and perfect as it once was (good bodies are wastd on the young). I'll worry about when I'm no longer flexible :)