A chart displaying the state of my health and fitness during adulthood looks much like a chart showing the waves of a pandemic virus. At 18 I was very fit, but two and a bit years into a smoking habit. So the line on the chart was already headed south. At 26 I quit smoking and got fit in preparation for basic training at RAF Halton. By May 1999, I was the fittest, strongest and healthiest I would ever be. Peak Me. But it didn’t last. I was back on the fags by the end of the year, and the line on the chart went south again.
My mid 30s in Mexico City were spent cycling a hundred kilometres a week and running half marathons. I got fit. But I still smoked. So I didn’t get healthy. This peak was a gentle one. And then I came back to the UK, resumed a sedentary lifestyle and ate pies. And chips. With gravy and HP Brown sauce. I have a trouser belt which documented the process of a widening waist.
My recovery from a mystery virus in late 2019 and the permanent kicking of my nicotine habit pushed the line upwards again. It’s been a slow and gradual rise, but it’s been consistent. I go to the gym a couple of times a week. I swim in the pool. I workout in front of the telly at home with Apple Fitness+. I play tennis. I go for a decent walk most days. I close my fitness rings every day, without fail.
I’ve noticed recently that my lungs seem fully recovered from the virus. Finally. It’s taken 18 months. I can take a full breath. The immune system disorder I have that is attacking my digestive system is under control. I am close to reaching the top of another peak. I won’t get much fitter and healthier than I am today. Ageing joints are the limiting factor now. And age means that the line will head south again. But I’ll try and maintain this peak as long as possible. And make the inevitable decline as gentle as possible, over as many decades as possible.
But yeah. I’m at the top of another peak, and that is worth repeating. It took effort. I have pecs. Solid leg muscles. And a bit of a belly because I’m still at the pies, but we’ll let that slide today. I deserved a reward. So I got some gold trainers to rock up at my gym with and to dazzle fellow tennisters at the courts. Because, why not?