A precursor of the Rust was a now-defunct fantasy blog written by a Walter Mitty-type who purported to inject himself into real-life UK and global current events and record what happened from his viewpoint as a supposed key participant in them.
One of the author’s recurring “situations” was his quest to gain selection for the England rugby team as a utility player who could still “do a job” for the national side aged in his late fifties by undertaking a fitness regime upon which he then occasionally reported progress in great detail.
Today I risk drawing comparison with that project by detailing my progress in my current ongoing programme of walking sessions and physical jerks designed – not so much to defy the ageing process – but render myself better able to cope with it by at least remaining active, something that many scientists and medics routinely recommend under the general heading of “maintaining quality of life”.
I shall reach the age of 71 late this month. I was never lightning fast as a sprinter but possessed a good “engine” (stamina) and plenty of determination. Whilst never being talented enough to excel at any sport, I was heavily into ball games and cross-country running in my youth and (I like to think) retained a certain core strength into middle age, albeit that, although at the age of 40 I still weighed roughly the same as when I left school, by then I was “wearing” the bulk of my avoirdupois in decidedly different parts of my body.
It was around that time that I made the decision to drop a meal course and – of the three classics (starter, main and dessert) – chose dessert as the one that I would find least onerous to leave behind. I’ve kept to that regime ever since.
In addition, since my early forties I have begun fitness programme upon innumerable occasions – maintained them for weeks (sometimes months) – and then given them up, usually when social engagements mounted up and eventually prevented me from finding the time to conduct them.
Until the next time I begin one.
Over the past two years I have managed to remain broadly “in training” and as a result have dropped two stone in weight via gradual transformation, if that is the right word. Some pals and family members have teased me by asking me whether I am ill, or indeed have suggesting that I have lost too much. I tend to ignore them because I feel fitter and healthier than I did before and anyway I enjoy taking exercise.
In my case – as of six years ago sporting a new right hip and a warning from my surgeon that I shall require a left equivalent before long (and as a result being banned from running), this means that I undertake the bulk of my cardio exercise via walking and then, in addition, every few days also undertaking a High Intensity Interval Training session (or “H.I.I.T”) in which I do a random series of physical jerks with very small rest periods between each one.
One of the industry standards when it comes to alleged physical “good practice” is setting a target of recording 10,000 steps per day. These can be monitored by either using an App upon your smartphone and/or wearing a “smart watch” that does the business for you.
I was moved to blog today because yesterday I reached a “milestone” in my daily steps routine: it was the 100th consecutive day that I had recorded 10,000 steps.
Originally I began keeping a record of my daily steps total in an Excel spreadsheet simply as a matter of interest.
About three months ago now I noticed that my Garmin fitness watch had begun telling me that I had now achieved e.g. 11 consecutive days of 10,000 steps. By the time that had extended to 27 days’ worth I was becoming prey to the sense that it would be a pity if I failed to “keep the record going”.
A factor in such a regime is that – inevitably – there are days when one’s engagement diary is full and/or events conspire so that you are forced to “fire fight” them as they arise and as a result are unable to “go for my afternoon walk when the time reaches 2.30pm” as per normal.
Anyway. In July my average daily total of steps was 15,077; in August it was 16,555; in September it was 19,187; and so far this month (October) it has been 18,054. My biggest daily total during this period occurred on 6th September when I amassed 25,900 steps.
I had a slight “wobble” when I delighted in announcing to my daughter that I had now achieved 47 consecutive days of 10,000 steps. She responded that this was interesting, but she was currently on 66 consecutive days!
Now that I have passed the 100 consecutive day mark, I no longer feel under pressure. When I was on 47 – and learned of my daughter’s total (see above) – I had made a conscious decision to go for 100. Having achieved that I am resigned to the inevitability that one day – for whatever reason(s) – one day I will let my sequence “go”.