Thoughts and Adventures From Greenlite Heavy Industries

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Live Hard

As I grow deeper into middle age my athletic focus is beginning to move away from high end performance (not that I ever had high end performance, but I sure did try for it) and move towards longevity.  When I say longevity I’m not simply referring to living to a ripe old age, but I’m more specifically interested in staying active in outdoor sports (biking, skiing, climbing, hiking, paddling) deep into old age.

Yesterday while riding the rollers in my kitchen I listened to an interview that Ben Greenfield conducted with Bruch Grierson author of What Makes Olga Run.  The book is profiles multiple world record holder Olga Kotelko who, at 95, still competes in masters track and field competitions.  Listening to Olga’s story and learning about other masters athletes such as Ed Whitlock (as well as studies conducted on modern day hunter/gather tribes) I start to wonder what makes these people tick, are they superhuman – one in a billion – or is there some common thread that links them together.

One common thread that I seem to be seeing is the benefits of living a hard life. Back in my childhood home of Iowa there are those old farmers who have basically worked outside all day every day since they are eight or nine years old.  They are tough and well into their seventies can outwork most modern day high school football players.  And I don’t believe that it’s simply the physical labor that delivers the benefits, it’s also enduring the cold winters and hot summers as well as a feeling of doing something satisfying.
Now I get to cycling.  Being an everyday rider is tough – at least here in Seattle where it is often cold and wet.  It takes some pretty stiff fortitude to get out there and point your nose into the wet wind day in and day out, and in my opinion this will pay off in a longer more healthy and active life.  I am trending towards the opinion that being outside in the elements is best thing that you can do for yourself with respect to living a strong, and long life.  Way better than diet and way way better than running on a treadmill in a 70 degree gym.  We’ll see if I’m right – in forty years.

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