As I approach the milestone of turning 70 in May 2024, a profound sense of reflection and gratitude washes over me. This juncture in life encourages me to look back upon the journey of my health, filled with its myriad highs and lows.

Granted, I have several months before I do reach this milestone, yet, this is a time of great reflection.

As I stand on the cusp of my 70th year, it’s a moment to marvel at the blessings that have accompanied me on this path.

The ebbs and flows of my well-being, the choices made (some great, some not so good), and the lessons learned have all converged to grant me the privilege of entering my seventh decade with a remarkable gift: the gift of vibrant health.

Each decade has etched its indelible mark on my perception of health, propelling me through a dynamic exploration of physical and mental wellness.

From the echoes of the past to the vibrancy of the present, my journey has been characterized by transformation, evolution, and an unwavering commitment to embrace health in its entirety. Join me as I traverse seven decades of health, weaving through the corridors of time to uncover the threads that have shaped this remarkable narrative of well-being.

The voyage through the realm of health and fitness is a narrative that evolves over time, shaped by experiences, life circumstances, and personal growth.

My personal story serves as a testament to the changing attitudes towards physical well-being, reflecting how diverse phases of life can mold perspectives on health.

Foundations of Phys Ed: Life in the 1950s and 1960s

Growing up in the 50s and 60s, physical education was an integral part of the school curriculum, establishing a baseline understanding of the importance of physical activity.

However, not everyone felt naturally coordinated or athletic during these formative years, and for some, the significance of these early experiences wouldn’t fully resonate until later in life.

I was in this camp. I never much enjoyed physical education as I felt very out of place.

Priorities in the Reckless Twenties

Transitioning into my 20s, health often took a back seat to other priorities, particularly the allure of indulging in drugs and alcohol.

Substances allowed me to feel normal and fit in. The pursuit of immediate gratification, that was my constant state of mind, overshadowed concerns about well-being, resulting in a neglect of exercise and the adoption of habits that didn’t align with long-term health.

Health Concerns Result in Major Surgery 

The years 1975 and 1977 hold significant memories, defined by the battles I faced with endometriosis.

Back then, I grappled with the overwhelming reality of contending with this challenging condition, a mix of physical agony and emotional turbulence. The pain was relentless, and the uncertainty of it all weighed heavily on me, leading to major surgeries in both those years.

During that time, I found myself in a situation where I had to advocate for my own health. It wasn’t easy, as I was met with skepticism and even told that my condition was merely psychological.

Fortunately, in 1975, I managed to find a doctor who took my struggles seriously, and through major surgery, I found a temporary respite.

Requiring surgery again in 1977, I lived with the fear my condition could worsen at any time. Little did I know, my lifestyle choices, including excessive consumption of dairy products, may have had an influence on how severe my situation was.

The scars left behind by those surgeries served as tangible reminders of my resilience and the indispensable role of health in shaping our lives.

Looking back, I realize that even though I didn’t fully comprehend the severity of my condition at the time, I’ve come to understand the preciousness of our well-being.

This journey has taught me the value of unwavering self-care and vigilance, fueling a deep-seated appreciation for the strength we can uncover within ourselves.

Sobriety and Self-Discovery: My Late 20s

My late 20s marked a significant turning point, as my ability to handle any amount of alcohol and drugs were nonexistent.

Realizing I could not consume any amount of alcohol or mind altering substances, I surrendered to the fact I needed to stop all substances. As the journey to sobriety intertwined with the realization of the need for comprehensive self-care, the choice to not ingest anything was quite simple, although not easy.

Daily I was confronted with the reality that this type of change required complete honesty in order to get to the other side of experiencing my world collapsing around me.

Emerging from daily chaos and confusion, sobriety offered me a newfound focus on health, stemming from both the desire to break free from destructive habits and the understanding that nurturing one’s well-being was paramount.

The choice to turn my life around in 1983 has resulted in nearly 40 years of sobriety at this point in my life.


Weightlifting Revelation: My 30s

My 30s ushered in a pivotal transformation with the discovery of weightlifting. Experiencing hours of time on my hands that were not consumed with nursing a hangover or wondering when I would have my next drink, I found solace in spending time in the gym.

Once an intimidating space, the gym became a sanctuary for empowerment and personal growth.

Regular weight training sessions became not only a means to achieve physical goals but also a conduit to holistic well-being, gradually dispelling the notion that exercise was solely about appearance.

Balancing Aesthetics and Wellness: Continuation in My 30s

In my 30s, fitness pursuits were tightly interwoven with appearance goals, and weight training, complemented by mindful dietary choices and cardiovascular exercises, occupied a central role.

Granted, what I believed to be healthy nutrition in my 30s was very different than what I know to be true today. More on nutrition further in this article.

However, beneath the pursuit of physical aesthetics, the understanding that exercise had a profound impact on mental health and overall well-being began to flourish.

Navigating Change In My 50s

Life was humming along having started a business at 39 which made my 40s the decade of focusing on business growth. I loved my business and the clients I worked with. I seemed to have a handle on things.

However, entering my 50s brought unforeseen challenges into my life. The responsibilities of tending to my aging parents took center stage, causing my dedication to physical activity and wholesome eating to wane.

This shift wasn’t without its consequences; besides dealing with emotional turbulence, extreme exhaustion, and inability to have a good night’s sleep, I found myself grappling with a substantial weight gain of around 60 pounds from my previous healthy condition.

As the realization of the toll this was taking on my health sank in, I sought out alternatives to counter the effects.

This is when I discovered power walking and running. As both came into play, emerging as my go-to strategies for coping with the changing dynamics of life and ensuring a level of physical activity that was sustainable.

Marathon Triumphs and Pandemic Setbacks: In My 60s

In my 60s, the pursuit of fitness saw remarkable triumphs through participating in my first marathon, underscoring that age should never serve as a barrier to achieving fitness milestones.

Completing not just one, but two full marathons, one at 61 and one at 65, stands as a testament to my perseverance and determination, despite the odds.

Though I came in last during both marathons, the experience taught me invaluable lessons about pushing past my limits, conquering self-doubt, and embracing the sheer joy of accomplishment.

These marathons highlighted the power of resilience and the courage to take on challenges that stretch my capabilities. They embody the spirit of aiming high and persevering, regardless of the odds stacked against us.

While the clock may have told one story, the journey itself told another – one of unwavering commitment, unyielding spirit, and the remarkable feeling of crossing the finish line, no matter the rank.

The Pandemic Changes the Playing Field

Life was buzzing along with me working out at the gym at least five days a week, running near the river on a regular basis, and discovering the power of a plant-exclusive eating protocol in September, 2018.

In addition, my business was in full swing, going strong.

My spouse and I celebrated 30 years together. Our home was our sanctuary that we shared with a menagerie of rescue animals.

Once again, it seemed as if life was humming along.

However, the unexpected onset of the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted routines, forcing a recalibration of strategies. Gym closures prompted an evaluation of what I could do to stay the course of my health goals.

Taking an open-ended hiatus from the gym due to unforeseen shutdowns and the whirlwind of life events didn’t mean hitting pause on my commitment to health. Even as gym doors remained closed, I found solace in running, the river and trails as my fitness haven.

The rhythm of my footsteps became a consistent thread weaving through the complexities of those years. This unexpected break taught me that health isn’t confined to a specific space; it’s a resilient mindset that adapts to life’s twists and turns.

Embracing Holistic Health Approaches: Approaching My 70th Birthday

As I approach my 70th birthday, health and fitness goals have taken on a new perspective. The emphasis has shifted from aesthetics to encompassing a broader spectrum of well-being, including balance, prevention of osteoporosis, brain health, disease prevention, muscle tone, and overall vitality.

After three years of not lifting weights, I was struck with the realization that adding resistance training back into my exercise protocol would facilitate my long-term health goals. Included in my regular routine is running, yoga, meditation and resistance training. I also enjoy a hiking and bicycling and will soon be adding swimming into the mix.

For my 70th birthday, I’m determining what I might do that would once again stretch my physical and mental capacities.

This transformative shift in mindset reflects the ever-deepening understanding of the interplay between physical and mental health.

A Plant-Based Evolution: The Dietary Shift

Due to my dietary shift in 2018, the adoption of a plant-based diet has represented a conscientious choice to nourish health from within. This dietary transition aligns seamlessly with the comprehensive approach to well-being, addressing physical health, ethical considerations, and environmental impact.

As I approach my seventh full decade, one of my goals is to inspire others to live as healthy a life as possible. With a massive decline in the health of baby boomers coupled with an increase in millions being afflicted with obesity and all that comes with this health condition, the quality of life for many is declining by the day.

For example, the increase in surgical procedures such as hip and knee replacements, many of which are a direct result of the foods we eat resulting in weight gain for the population at large, has literally exploded. Read more about the increase in joint surgeries and reasons why. CLICK HERE. 

The trajectory through the landscape of health and fitness is a dynamic and evolving journey, shaped by life’s experiences, circumstances, and personal growth.

From the foundations of physical education to the conscious choices made in later life, this narrative underscores the transformative power of shifting perspectives on well-being.

Balancing external aesthetics with internal vitality and recognizing the intricate connection between physical and mental health has led to a holistic approach to health that is adaptable, resilient, and truly inspiring.

Considerations as You Age

As you age, embracing your role in maintaining health becomes crucial. The passage of time brings with it changes that call for proactive measures.

It’s a time when prioritizing physical activity, wholesome nutrition, and mental well-being takes center stage.

Just as I experienced unforeseen challenges, be it through endometriosis or the demands of caring for aging parents, life’s curveballs are inevitable. Yet, how we respond to them is within our control.

These challenges inspire a pivotal realization that our bodies are not just vessels, but intricate systems deserving of care and respect.

It’s about understanding that the pursuit of health is not a temporary endeavor, but a lifelong commitment that evolves alongside us. Just as I found solace in power walking and running during times of upheaval, and eventually came to terms with taking full responsibility for my health, others discover their own avenues for rejuvenation, be it through yoga, hiking, swimming, running, kayaking or simply making mindful choices in their daily routines.

Taking responsibility for health in later years is a tribute to the life lived thus far and a promise to the years ahead.

Let us not use age as a ticket for decline, but rather a reason for being the best we can be. Let us use our years on this earth as a testament to the strength that comes from within and a declaration that age will not dictate the vibrancy of life.

By acknowledging this responsibility and making conscious choices, individuals embrace the potential to rewrite the narrative of aging, with each chapter resonating with vitality, purpose, and a deep-rooted appreciation for the gift of well-being.