Thursday, December 12, 2013

Exercise for Life

Growing up, I was immersed in athletics and exercise and of course I still am.

The example was set for me by my parents, Dr. and Mrs. Steel. Dad always followed the Greek ideal of a sound mind and a sound body. He always talked about it being wonderful for you in a myriad of ways, including increased intelligence.

Dad exercised at 12 pm everyday. He was a professor at the University of Maryland and would either play tennis, basketball, or badminton(one of his workout buddies was College Football Hall of Famer Jerry Claiborne who would be performing sit ups on the court before everyone else arrived).

                                         Dad playing "noon time ball" at Cole Field House in the 1970's

Mom was an English teacher at a high school but still played tennis 3-4 times a week and was the tennis coach at the high school for a number of years.

Although my father loved teaching, there was nothing that he loved more than exercise and the benefits that he reaped from it.

The story goes that when they first married, my Mom would say, "Oh, Don! you have a few days off from work, what would you like to do?" And my Dad would reply, "Do? I am playing tennis."

So Mom got pissed off and started playing tennis also.

When other parents were going out drinking on New Years Eve, my parents were going out and having a tennis party to celebrate. That's the truth. I thought it was normal.

Now they are both 80 years old. And they are both sharp as tacks. I still call my Dad every day to talk or for advice. They still travel all over and they entertain and Mom is a president of a miniature painting society and they sure are different than other 80 year old's that I have been around.

And guess what? They exercise pretty much everyday. They play tennis and Mom rides the bike, and if Dad isn't playing tennis he walks on the treadmill.

Now there is all kind of studies that show that exercise is great for your cognitive function and stave's off dementia in addition to other benefits. 

My parents were right all along.  The Washington Posts confirms this:

All About Being a Lifer

What's a Lifer? Someone who isn't in to something for just a day, a month, a's for life. Whether its training or your family or your doesn't matter. You work at it, you build on it, you see the big picture . You don't miss workouts because it means something to you. You are like a Shakespearean actor- no matter what is going on in your life, you block it out when it's time to train. You walk into the weight room and all else disappears. Worry about it later.