Middle Aged – and liking it!

After 4 decades and a half, I have become “middle aged” this month – nothing that came to a surprise. In fact, I saw it coming for quite some time. Yet, to the contrary of most, I’m liking it!

I have always believed that the best years for a man start in the forties. It is when a man has reached maturity emotionally, mentally and physically. We have been there…and there. And we have done that…a lot of it. We know our way round. We have had successes. We have had failures. We have loved. We have been inexplicably happy. And we have lost. We have been incredibly sad. We have seen the light and the darkness. We have been scared of our wits. We wanted to run away, yet, we prevailed. We were knocked down to our knees…and it hurt, damn it, but we stood up again and gave it another go.

All of this has made us who we are now. And none of this would I ever like to miss. So, now, I am a middle aged man, but that does not prevent me from thoroughly enjoying myself.

You see, whatever I do has a meaning. And if it is only the meaning I give it. Whatever I do is in view of longevity, of my being full of energy, fully functional, physically, emotionally and mentally healthy and fit.

I choose my diet with this in mind. I choose my training with this in mind. I choose my mental and emotional input with this in mind. Mind you, I am not infallible, far from it. Yet, my intention is firm and right on. I am committed.

The reason for this is that I really enjoy my ride on this planet in this time. And I am intent on enjoying it as long as I can. My life is demanding, very much so. I am a single dad with a 6 year old boy, who is not quite sure yet whether he wants to become a Blue Whale or Spiderman. Besides this major assignment, I also run a fairly large sized recruiting firm, workout 4-5 times a week and have a heap of interests.

Stress is my greatest challenge. When my firm was in the start-up phase, there were many times, when I woke up in the middle of the night and started thinking about all the things I needed to do to get the operation going. This would go on until the alarm clock rang…Dealing with stress and its negative impact on our health will be another article down the road.

This article is about being middle aged and making the right choices, so that you are middle aged and liking it. So what are the things you have to do in order to stay (or get) healthy, strong and energetic (besides looking good)?

Here is the list:

1) Drink Water – lots of it!

I drink water by ½ L. I also drink lots of unsweetened Green Tea. But then I live in a hot climate.

2) Eat well every day!

Avoid extremes such as no carbs, zero fat, 600g of protein per day etc. It is all about balance. When it comes to food intake, nothing in excess is every beneficial. A good “diet” to start off with is the Zone Diet. You can build upon it or customize to your own needs.

3) Take supplements!

Modern living takes it out of us. Food quality sucks (most of the time). Stress and pollution attack us constantly. I recommend multi-vitamins, minerals, Vitamin C, Fish oil and others.

4) Workout 3-6 times a week!

This is no option. Use it or lose it. The choices for exercise are plentiful. Equipment is largely unnecessary but can be great fun.

The exercise program you need comprises

(1) low intensity, steady cardio for health (yes, yes, the current trend is HIIT and others, this fashion will pass, low steady cardio such as swimming, hiking, walking, easy jogging will prevail);

(2) medium to high intensity resistance training for your bones, connective tissue, muscles and most of all for your hormones! The resistance training can be done with weights, tubes, bands, bodyweight, kettlebells etc.

(3) stretching for warm up (dynamic stretching), for cool down (static stretching), for flexibility and pain relief.

Other exercise that improves sense of balance, coordination, speed, accuracy can be added.

By the way, if your workout regimen’s purpose is weight control, then you set yourself up for failure…

5) Have sex – lots of it!

A delicious experience of human existence – treat yourself to lots of it. Say no more 😉

6) Sleep and rest!

Very much depending on individual needs, yet, everybody knows when they are well rested, awake and alert – aim for this sensation.

7) Work and be of service to others!

Life has little meaning, if it only is all about us. We derive great satisfaction and pleasure from giving to others. Treat yourself to this feeling every day.

8) Study something – study lots!

Having been an unsuccessful student in my youth, I discovered the pleasure of learning late. However, now I would not want to miss studying and learning something new every day. Isn’t it a great thing to know that you will be smarter tomorrow than you are today?

9) Read, meditate, do deep breathing!

I call it “Soul Time”. It is connecting with your inner self, the core of your being, getting into your heart space, knowing who you really are. Books, most often of the spiritual kind, can take me there (in my heart space). Deep Breathing can calm my mind. Meditating may work, although I am a mere beginner.

10) Enjoy leisure time, unwind, rejuvenate!

Play! Enjoy! Have fun!

11) Others

There is always more. I don’t even pretend to know all there is to know…

 

thomas ehle, 45 y

thomas ehle

This is it! Interested readers may have many questions, now, fire away!

6 thoughts on “Middle Aged – and liking it!

  1. Thomas- thank you for the motivation and very clear/simple directives…after one day i feel a ton of pain but i am sure i can do this- when i joined the army (at age 17)- I could only do 9 pushups in two minutes. two months later- with a lot of practice- i could do over 80. this time around- almost 30 years later- i am struggling to do 5 crunches- but i will try my best to keep it up because the rewards are a lot more important and personal this time. thank you again and i will do my best to make you proud- you have been consistently patient and encouraging me for 12/13 years- now it is time for me to return the favor by showing i appreciate your concern by doing what you`ve asked- and this is a great reason/way to stay in touch..Again I appreciate the positivity as well as the `no crap` approach. Danke Schoen.

  2. This is quite common. I think Shee could benefit from intermittent fasting.

  3. Thank you, Thomas. so clear and a great reminder.
    I will get Shee to read it. As she stopped smoking but gained weight.

  4. Hi Thomas,

    This is a great read, thanks!

    In fact I was waiting for you to laugh at me when I said I added steady cardio because it’s so unpopular nowadays. My gym friends are either on the heavy side and do nothing serious to combat this other than asking what supplements I take (which is water, food, fish oil and a multi vitamin, just as you recommend) and talking about it whilst still eating badly and only doing their favourite lifts or simply bouncing from one fad to another. I’ll humbly admit that I have fallen victim to a handful of fads in the past but like you say, that’s the benefit of getting older and learning from our mistakes! All I needed was something simple that I could follow and first make a habit and then lifestyle – one that wasn’t too strict so that I was always diet-stressed. I settled on basically what you recommend and it works very well. Being in great shape isn’t a sprint but a lifelong pursuit, that paradigm shift helped immensely.

    HIIT- yes, I believe you in that it’s a fad for the simple fact that very few people have the commitment and mental discipline to follow a course of it for any extended period of time needed for a lifestyle change – because it’s brutally tough to do!! You are exactly right that steady state cardio is life and easy to make a habit of. Good for you for recommending the currently unfashionable but practically useful path.

    Lastly, congratulations on being in such great shape. You look amazing!!

    Cheers,
    Linc

  5. Thanks Thomas!
    Your advice challenged me to reconsider my eating behaviours, and now (I am in my best years, too) for the first time in my life I seriously learn about nutrition. In combination with a different workout routine, this has lead to significant positive changes in my body in a surprisingly short time.
    I am curious to continue exploring more…!

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