In August 2017 I was hiking up a mountain in Tecate, Mexico. It was hot outside and the hill was steep. I was covered in sweat and wheezing heavily when a woman glided past me as if she were on an escalator and made a comment about my weak effort that’s usually reserved for a men’s locker room.
“C’mon,” I said. “I’m sixty-one years old.”
“Big deal,” she replied. “I’m sixty-eight.”
I’m a type 2 diabetic and my family had taken me to a fitness spa to help me lose a few pounds, but that woman — who I never saw again — impacted my life significantly.
I’ve discussed health and fitness on the radio and written about it in my column for years and I’ve always taken great pride in being a healthy diabetic by advocating a program of diet, exercise, and prescription medications.
But that day in Mexico I realized I wasn’t healthy enough. After turning sixty, I had been unconsciously reducing the intensity of my workouts to the point where it was rare that I cracked a sweat. My family had taken notice, and so had my clothing. While my weight had not increased more than a few pounds, I was adding inches to my waist so pants and jackets were not fitting as they once did.
I realized that to maintain my optimum weight in my sixties, I would have to intensify my exercise regimen, and I have done that, with dramatic results. I had been doing a daily (boring) 4 m.p.h. walk for 30 minutes on a treadmill followed by 50 sit-ups, plus two days of weight training each week.
Without getting into the extensive details of my new workout, I went from the old boring routine to different types of interval training (treadmill and bike) where I pushed my heartrate so that I walk out of the gym everyday drenched in sweat. I also intensified my weight training with heavier weights, multiple sets and intensive core work that includes a minimum of 200 sit-ups a day.
At age 62, my clothes fit well again, my blood work has improved and I can climb the subway stairs without breathing hard. I’ve also addressed life in my sixties by eating fewer desserts and drinking less alcohol and my morning blood sugar levels have responded positively.
Perhaps when I’m sixty-eight I’ll be as fit as the woman on the mountain.
Rob Taub has enjoyed an eclectic career in film, television, radio, and journalism. He has interviewed everyone from pop stars to presidents and he has written more than 250 articles for People Magazine, FoxNews.com, SI/Cauldron, The Huffington Post, and Thrive Global. Rob is a respected Diabetes Advocate and Obesity Ambassador, writing and speaking regularly about Type 2 diabetes and health. Follow him on Twitter @robmtaub or at www.RobTaub.com. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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