One of the joys of writing Food & Fitness After 50 is the correspondence with those of you who are eating well and moving well. One day I opened my email to find a request from Greg, age 59, asking me to be a guest on his podcast, Fathers After 50. After our interview, which was more like a conversation with an old friend, I asked Greg to let me interview him! You can find Greg’s podcast here.
Why did you start FathersAfter50?
I’m the father of two boys, ages 6 and 8. I got married for the first time a bit later than the average marriage age…. I was 50! My boys were born during our second and fourth years of marriage. Next year I’ll turn 60. Wow, time flies. I didn’t realize it at the time, but FathersAfter50 originated when I was single in my late forties. I was hoping to get married and have children at that late stage in life so for encouragement, I tried to find others who had children after 50. Those I could find were famous or wealthy, often both. A few years into my marriage other “After 50” hopes and desires came to mind and that led to the mission of the FathersAfter50.com podcast… to improve our health, longevity, relationships, and reach personal and financial goals. I personally want to improve in all those areas and believe others do, too. And I feel it is especially important for older men (and women) with young children!
What do you do to stay active and has it changed as you’ve gotten older?
Since my teens I have worked out with weights two to three times a week. I have a lean athletic build, but I’ve never been very muscular. In my twenties I did of bit of long distance running but, like Forrest Gump, one day I ran about 15 miles from home and stopped. I turned around, walked home and pretty much gave up regular running, except for an occasional 10K. I took up cycling which is much more exciting than running and it gave me a chance to enjoy the scenery. When my two boys got older, we like to bike together in the summer.
To stay in shape, I work out with weights three times a week and do some aerobic activity a couple of times a week. As I’ve gotten older I’ve experienced shoulder problems and two years ago I had a frozen shoulder (for those who don’t know what a frozen shoulder is, well, neither did I, but I could barely lift my arm over my head to change clothes and sleeping was next to impossible due to the pain.) Thankfully, I found a wonderful physical therapist who “fixed me.” Well, “fixed” is a relative term because it took a little over six months to fully recover and I now do regular shoulder strengthening exercises to keep it away. I avoid bench pressing heavy weights and work out with lighter weights with higher repetitions.
What motivates you to stay active?
Habit. Although there have been times in my life that I stopped working out, the feeling of malaise pushes me back to physical fitness. And, now that I have two young active boys, I want to stay fit to be able to keep up with them! But even if they were much older, I’d still be motivated to stay fit simply to enjoy life. Couch potatoes rarely have the energy and fun that active people do!
Do you follow any special diet, or do you have any tips for healthy eating that work for you?
I don’t follow any special diet, but my blood pressure was starting to creep up as I got older. I wanted to control it with diet, so I cut out “junk” foods, especially those high in sugar and added sodium. I gave up the chips, cut back on highly processed prepared foods, and cut down on eating out. I learned the benefits of eating healthy fats; I used to think a low-fat diet was best, but I’ve learned that healthy fats, like those found in avocado, are a great addition to my diet.
If you had to name 3 things you do to age well, what would they be?
- Exercise. I believe exercise is the secret to the “Fountain of Youth.”
- Diet. Eating real food gives me the nutrition to I need.
- Attitude. We can be physically fit and eat well but without a great attitude, our life will still be mediocre, at best.
What are your biggest challenges to aging well?
Being disciplined to do what we know we should do. And, being curious enough to read books, attend seminars, or ask good questions of those who are ahead of us in life and experiences. Listening to those who are ten to twenty years ahead of us who are in great shape and good health probably have great advice! (For an inspiring read of on older man who is in good health and amazing shape, check out my interview with Clarence Bass.)
Do you have any words of wisdom for others?
Follow your heart, pursue your dreams, and never forget that you can improve your health, happiness and relationships at any age!