Elders and Personal Hygiene
A Big Week in Civil Rights – The Good and Not So Good

Inspire Your Fit Behavior

As noted in a post earlier this month about hanging on to our health in old age, the reason I have been able to keep up my six-day-a-week exercise routine for nearly a year now – or, at least, the reason I tell myself – is fear. Fear, if I don't, of what diseases and conditions might befall me as the years continue to speed by.

Of course, there are no guarantees; healthy old people get sick every day. But it seems to me there is no point in inviting disaster by ignoring the best health advice among which is to keep moving, to choose some kind of exercise routine and keep at it.

Even though I understand the importance of this, because I have no long-term history in regular exercise, I don't count on the motivation of fear to compel me to keep going every day. I treat my exercise program as 12-step programs do – one day at a time – and look for additional kinds of inspiration.

Fit book coverRecently, I found one in an ebook titled, Inspire Your Fit Behavior – Real People. Real Results. Real Motivation. Or, for short: Fit After Fifty.

Through first-person text and videos, the book tells the stories of nine real-life old people who have turned their lives and health around by finding the inspiration and motivation – each in his or her own way – to try something new.

One of my favorites is the story of Bill Center who had been a career U.S. Navy officer:

”So much of my motivation,” he writes in the book, “has come from simply realizing it was possible to reverse my decline.

“I lost five pounds. And then another five pounds. And then another. Every pound lost boosted my confidence. Every physical ability recovered added to my resolve to keep getting better.”

Here, from the book, is a short video of the retired rear admiral who notes it's not just weight loss that's important, but fitness. Take a look:

Among the other real-life fitness stories are a competition ping pong player, marathon runners, a swimmer, a biker, a track and field competitor, a woman weight lifter, a woman who climbed Mt. Kilamanjaro in her late 60s and a 99-year-old golfer who, on each birthday, plays the number of holes as there are candles on his cake.

Most of the people in these first person accounts have been working at their chosen fitness fields for many years now and are quite accomplished. But what I found compelling – and motivating - about reading their stories is that none of them started out as athletic or as physical fitness buffs. It came to them late in life.

At the end of each person's chapter, there is a recap of the key takeaways and lessons from their individual fitness journeys. The author of the ebook, Tony Whatley, has distilled those lessons into ten “principles of fitness” that seem smart to me:

  1. The best time to start is now
  2. Compete only with yourself
  3. Maintain perspective and positivity
  4. Write everything down
  5. Shop around for a sport you enjoy
  6. Socialize your experience for support and enjoyment
  7. Break down big picture goals into manageable chunks
  8. Acknowledge victories great and small
  9. Seek opportunities to renew your interest
  10. Remember to play and have fun

In regard to Number 2, the track and field athlete, Bruce, made an important observation:

”I once asked a young person who had just watched a Masters track and field meet what they thought of the event. His response? It was 'depressing' watching 'old' people trying to do things — like the shot put or discus throw — that young people could obviously do much better.

“This reaction demonstrates that our perspective on what it means to be an athlete in your fifties, sixties, seventies and beyond, needs to change.

“Older athletes shouldn’t be seen for their inability to equal the accomplishments of younger athletes; they should be recognized for their abilities as athletes, period.

“Older athletes are competing against other older athletes and, more importantly, themselves — not LeBron James or Usain Bolt. The goal is to push yourself to be better than you are now — at any age.”

There is also some excellent advice and information from these nine elder athletes about turning failure into motivation and I'm going to keep Inspire Your Fit Behavior around to dip into regularly – particularly when I think I want to skip my daily workout.

For me, these are powerfully inspiring stories from ordinary people not so different from me who decided to get healthier and did.

Here is a short montage of several of them:

You can download a free chapter [pdf] here. This file is approximately 50MB and with a DSL/cable connection it may require up to five minutes to download. On a 56k dial-up, it will take 2.5 hours.

The publisher has offered to give away one ebook to a TGB reader. This file is is even larger, approximately 300MB. With a DSL/cable connection it may require 20-30 minutes to download. Unfortunately for dial-up, this may mean 15 hours to keep that in mind before you sign up for the drawing.

To be eligible for the ebook, just say so in the comments below. “Enter me in the contest” is good enough or “I want to win the free ebook” or even “me, me, me” will do.

The contest will remain open until midnight tonight (12:00AM), 27 June 2013 Pacific Time and the winner, selected by random electronic drawing, will be announced at the top of tomorrow's – Friday's - Time Goes By post.

You can purchase Inspire Your Fit Behavior ebook for $12.99 by following this link where you will find out how to get 10 percent discount.

As with so many other aspects of life, it is probably our individual psychological makeup that determines what kinds of motivation and inspiration work for each of us. I was surprised at how strongly I responded to these stories. Maybe you will too.

At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Marc Leavitt: On the Annual Checkup


I just turned 62--I exercise, but struggle with motivation. So, sign me up for a chance at the book.

I would like to enter the contest.

Enter me too please. More inspiration is great. I am using my primary means of motivation to exercise right now, money. I joined my old gym again; if I pay for it I use it. I haven't been for almost two years so I am just starting out again, slowly, I'm terribly out of shape.

Me me me (please). I need to find some motivation.

Please enter me in the contest. My motivation could use a boost!

Very inspiring. I'd love to win the ebook!

Enter my name in the contest--Brenda Berretta--it seems I continually need to find motivation.

Me me me!!!!! I keep asking my doc about exercise geared to my limitations from my stroke and she's pretty useless.

Me, Me, Me. I do exercise fairly regularly, but break away at the least excuse.
I can use more motivation..

Thank you, thank you Ronnie for your wonderful blog. I need no further motivation than to know you are there daily. Have been following you for 5-6 years(?) and have turned many of my friends on to you as well.

Me please!!! I used to be a very regular exerciser but have gotten out of the habit. I need inspiration!

enter me, please!

Love a chance at the book.
While I was exercising regularly before I discovered a partially blocked artery requiring a stent in it, the rehab has taught me that it wasn't quite enough.
I now have a totally different routine taught to me by the staff in the excellent rehab unit of my medical institution. Noticeable reduction in BP, pulse rate, blood sugar and weight are a direct result.


I got on the scale this morning, and the fear factor woke me up.

I'm already doing it but can always use a good push! Please enter me to win the ebook chapter.

I really need motivation.

I'm 73. Not too late to get going, but I need inspiration. Inspire me!!!

Enter me too please! I not only need motivation, but inspiration in terms of beginning again.


Please enter me in the contest. Thank you.

Please enter me in the contest. Perhaps it will inspire me to get off my ___!

How can I resist? Never been athletic, enjoyed sports, or much of any physical activity. My excuse, "the rewards are not worth the energy". I sure have changed my thinking on that one. Have added daily exercise to my routine, thinking of it as a bitter medicine to necessary to having as fit an old age as possible. I could use some motivation and perhaps find a way to enjoy the activity. Please enter me in the contest.

I'd love to win this ebook. I am 62, have MS, and will be having my third back surgery in three weeks. Any motivation I can find to keep going would be great!!

For the past few months I have been participating in Boot Camp at a local fitness organization with an excellent trainer. I wasn't sure, at first, if this was the right thing for me, but the experience has shown me that I need to stick with it. I may not love the twice a week workouts - at least until they are finished - but I do love the trainer, who is always concerned about each members physical well-being and always takes the time to offer advice when it's needed. I have been getting stronger and stronger, and know that this strength and overall better fitness will only be beneficial in allowing me to have the best quality of life I can, no matter how many years I have left.

Sign me up! I'm always interested in learning more!

Please enter me in the draw.

I could really use some motivation!

I'll just sit on the porch and watch you all.

Yes please me me me, sign me up

Me, me, me!

I am one of the people who searched for a fitness regimen which would not only make me healthy, but that I could enjoy. Never an athlete in my youth, I hated going to work out at gyms. I could not stand to run. Swimming gave me ear infections. I live in Florida and so five years ago I started playing tennis. It is the joy of my life! Not only has my overall conditioning vastly improved, but I have reversed my osteopenia, take NO prescription medications, have improved my aerobic health and my bp is 115/68. I also have a wonderful new circle of friends. I play 5-6 times a week now. Did I mention I am 69? I won't give it up until they carry me off the courts. You don't have to be young to enjoy this sport. You must find your bliss and then motivation is no longer a factor. Huzzah to all of you who are searching and persevering. It is a gift to no longer feel like an aging, soon-to-be sedentary person. Good luck to all.

I'd love to win this book! I'm an example, actually. I started running at age 62 and ran my first marathon at age 63. Since then I've run three times a week and have run two half marathons with another in February. I love it, feel great and continue to experience the benefits of regular exercise. Thanks for this important post!

Please add me to the drawing. I kept up a routine through the winter, but then fell apart when I got busy in the spring.

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