I’m increasingly risk-averse these days – is it just another sign of ageing?
THERE’S STILL A LITTLE bit of snow lying around here, left over from the flurry at the weekend.
Today, I was thinking about going to the shops on my bike, but I didn’t fancy it: I was a bit worried about hitting a frozen patch, and tumbling off.
I haven’t been running for a while, either – partly because of the still-icy pavements and the possibility of a slip, followed by yet another muscle tear or strain.
And while I was thinking all this, I asked myself: “When did you become such an old man? What happened to all that testosterone?”
Back in my pomp, I was known as quite an energetic, lusty kind of lad, but I seem to have become the quietest of quiet old geezers in recent years.
On Saturday, my giant and slightly drunk teenage son tried to start a late-night wrestle with me, and I heard myself saying: “Stop it! Stop it!”, and telling him he was being silly. But I would gladly have taken him on, not that long ago.
I’m walking more than running at the moment – is that as much as I can manage from now on?”
These days, I’m also becoming a bit Goldilocks about exercise – conditions have to be just right, or I’m staying inside. I still love a good run in the rain, but I’m increasingly unlikely to go out on the road bike if it’s wet or windy.
I’ve also been avoiding weight training and putting gentler forms of activity in its place – like hip stretches and knee rehab, wondering all the while if these really qualify as ‘exercise’ in the sense that I used to think of it.
Meanwhile, I’m walking a lot more often than I’m running at the moment – but does this mean that I’m just sensibly nursing my knees, etc., through a rough patch?
Or am I tacitly accepting that I’m moving on from one life stage to another, and that walking is as much as I can manage from now on?
It could be that this is all something to do with Coronavirus – that the daily struggle to stay motivated during a third national lockdown has, inevitably, affected my exercise habits as well.
Maybe it’s just because it’s winter – after all, aching joints are a lot harder to warm up when temperatures are in the low single figures. Maybe by Easter, enthused and freed up by my Covid-19 vaccine, I’ll be gambolling around outside again, like a Spring lamb.
So much of the ageing process creeps up on you gradually”
But it’s weird, and also slightly disturbing, to notice myself becoming more cautious – and less sure that, if I push myself, things will turn out OK.
I mean, when I was 20-something, I used to fancy jumping out of aeroplanes – but it’s been decades since I could even remember why I once thought that was a good idea.
Nowadays, you wouldn’t get me in a parachute for love nor money (and I’m talking Fort Knox or Playboy Mansion levels of recompense here).
Perhaps what I’m going through is just part of getting older: one day, you find that your sense of risk and adventure has simply upped, and disappeared.
So much of the ageing process creeps up on you gradually: like the first sign that you’re losing your hair; or the day you can no longer get up off the floor using just your legs; or realising that the yard of pace that got you in position to make a tackle suddenly isn’t there anymore.
Before you know it, you’ll need glasses to read when your eyes have always been 20/20; you’re alarmingly red-faced from hypertension; and your teeth are irretrievably stained, no matter how much you brush and floss them… It all just goes.