Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Cost of Health

No, I'm not going to rant on about health care or the cost of insurance.  I'm not poking fun at every politicians' idea of health care for the masses (as long as the same politicians get their own premium care.)  That would be too easy.

This is about what some of us do to ourselves and for ourselves to stay fit and healthy, or to be more specific, about what I do to keep fit.

I was never naturally gifted as a child.  I was always in the last three to be picked, if I was picked at all.  That never deterred me from enjoying sports.  I pretty much tried them all and eventually found some niches where I didn't suck as much.

In college I ran track and played competitive volleyball.  (Competitive as opposed to recreational or church social volleyball.)  I continued playing volleyball for many years and still do from time to time.

I played slow pitch softball for a few years.  I was the least impressive player you could imagine, but I could pitch strikes, and I could place the ball on either corner of the plate.  I was no deep threat at bat, but I learned how to hit the ball over the second baseman and run to first.  (Almost every time.)

Something happens to the body after 40 and again after 50.  Injuries take longer to heal and you get more of them.  Body weight becomes a performance and a health issue (and therefore an additional fitness goal.)  Everyone else gets faster (or so it seems.)

I have a bicycle that I bought in the early eighties.  It was pretty OK in its day, but now it's considered a vintage bike.  I used to ride it home from work.  I took it on the train and then rode home.  As a consultant, the distance to different clients varied anywhere from 10 to 20 miles.  When I moved to Phoenix, I hung the bike up in the garage and left it there for about eight years.  (I just couldn't get myself out there when it was 117 degrees.)

I'm riding it again now.  Since moving to Denver, I have met a lot of people who ride.  It started a couple months ago when there was a bike to work day and I just kept riding.  I put in anywhere from 40 to 60 miles a week now, which is nothing to a hardcore rider, but it's a lot for someone who sometimes gets the senior discount at the restaurants.

I've joined a group and nowhere else is the age of my bike so evident.  It has semi-classic appeal in some parts of the country, but it's on the heavy side and together, we are slow climbing the hills.  I am envious of the other riders who do not have to reach down to shift.  In the eighties, bikes came with down-tube shift levers.  Today, bikes have shift levers on the handle bars or even integrated with the break levers.

I want new shift levers, but whoa!  I checked out the prices of new bikes with the integrated shift levers.  The world has gone crazy.  I know some of my gung-ho friends will shell out the price of a used car for their shiny new bike, but I never expected a decent bike with decent parts to cost the better part of a months salary.

That got me thinking.  What else do we like to do?  Skiing?  Skis, boots, poles, pants.  It adds up fast.  Golf?  You can get an affordable set of golf clubs, but if they suck you in, you will need better clubs to (allegedly) improve your game.  Health club anyone?  The prices vary dramatically, as does the equipment and the status attached to the club.

And it's not just exercise that costs.  Try to eat healthy.

In the end, it doesn't matter whether you take care of your body to the fullest; enjoy life to the fullest; or find some middle ground where you do a little of both.  All paths lead to the same ending.  (You're not getting out of this life alive.)  You just have to choose whether you want the longer path or the more fun path, and don't forget to check your wallet to see if you can afford either of them.

1 comment:

  1. Funny you should mention reaching for your shifter. My wife and I have mid-level "road" bikes from the late 80s (mine's an '88 Centurion LeMans hers an '89 Miyata) with the mid-tube shifters. I don't think either bike has been ridden since the mid-90s, but we've moved them half-a-dozen times. We now ride our more 'comfortable' mountain bikes. I've thought of donating them a few times, but she can't seem to let go.