Keep yourself well maintained

Age no barrier: take care of yourself and you’ll be firing on all cylinders for years to come.
Photo: SantiMB FlickR

The older you get, the more important it is to take care of your wellbeing. But the older you get the less time you seem to have. We’re a bit like cars.

A friend of mine is a motor mechanic who says most people get it wrong when it comes to looking after their car.

A new car is always clean and polished and treated with loving care. It’s serviced regular as clock work, although it’s in prime condition and generally doesn’t need much maintenance. A little goes a long way in these first years.

As the car gets older it gets dusty and dinted and the times between services drag out – just when it needs more timely care. Moving parts have worn and you need to be sure everything’s functioning well to lessen the risk of an untimely failure.

How is your service book looking? It’s well known that regular exercise lessens the risk of heart attacks, strokes and diabetes, and extends life and quality of life.

I’ve often spoken to people who say they don’t like exercise. Sometimes it’s a matter of finding something you enjoy doing and one of the best things about cycling is the social aspect. Of course, it’s also a low impact activity, which is good if you’re carrying old injuries.

If it’s a long time since you’ve been active, a visit to your doctor to make sure everything will perform as expected is probably a good place to start. And regular checkups are also a good idea.

Then it’s a matter of taking it gently. Don’t worry that your neighbour rides 50km before work each day. Go round the block regularly until it feels too easy.

It shouldn’t hurt so much you never want to see the bike again. If it does it could be your set-up. Ask an experienced cyclist to check you out.

Good intentions are easy – ask anyone at new year. It’s finding the time for important things like your family and yourself that’s challenging.

Getting into the habit of regular exercise can be the hardest part. It’s easy to drop off when the weather gets too cold or too hot. It’s easy to sleep in a bit longer when you’re not training for anything in particular.

But think of those beautiful vintage cars still out driving rallies. Everything gleams, and the engines are spotless and purring. Isn’t that what we’re all aiming for?

See you on the road soon, God willing.

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