Today’s post will be a bit unique. Play along, as I try a different approach to my writing, and present a “Nancy Drew Mystery” type of post. The challenge: See if you can solve the mystery (don’t stress if you can’t, I’m also providing a “cheat sheet” in the Footnotes at the end of the post). If you solve the mystery and apply what you’ve learned, you could, indeed be younger next year than you are today.
First, if you would like to be younger next year, I’ve got a question for you:
How Often Do You Get In The Zone?
Right now, you’re probably not sure what I mean, exactly, by that question. Therein lies the mystery. I suspect you’re asking yourself something like the following as you try to figure out where I’m going with this:
By “In The Zone”, which one of the following does he mean????”
1) Being so intense into something, that you’re “In The Zone” (if you think that’s the meaning of Zone, you’re wrong. I’d call that being “In The Flow”).
2) Playing a Sport: Perhaps a memory of High School sports, when you find yourself “In The Zone” and have a great game? (Nope, not that one either. You were just lucky back then. Smiles.)
3) A Major Achievement: You crush an achievement you’ve been working toward, and think of that wonderful feeling of being “In The Zone” during the event due to your 6 month long training schedule? (Nope, not there yet……)
Nope, Nope and Nope. Today, a different kind of zone.
We’ll see how long it takes you to figure it out. A chance to work your brain. If you want to cheat, jump to the footnotes (but please don’t, until you’ve read the story below).
For those of you who are newer readers; my approach is to weave in posts about the”softer” sides of retirement along with my analytical posts on the “harder” sides ($$). A successful retirement requires planning on both the “soft” and “hard” sides of retirement, and since I’m working on both in preparation for my retirement, they both have a place in my blog.
With that, here we go:
Tonight, I was “In The Zone”.
SUGGESTION: Read the story below, and skip over the footnote references on your first scan. If I’ve met my “Creative Writing” self-challenge, it should read a bit like a cryptic story, a mystery. Then, come back and link the footnotes with the story when you get to the footnote section. I’m trying a different approach, just work with me on this one, I’m having a bit of fun. Test yourself, and see if you can figure out what the heck I’m talking about….(you’ll know as soon as you read the Footnotes). Here’s the story:
The Mystery Begins
I exceeded The Zone tonight, actually, and find the entire situation puzzling. (see FOOTNOTE 1 below, but NOT YET).
For years, I’ve been In The Zone with good results (2 ). Now, it seems I exceed The Zone with much poorer results (3).
I was surprised to find myself Out Of The Zone tonight, at a level that used to put me In The Zone (4).
Getting In THIS Zone is important, and it’s what today’s article is all about (5).
We all need to find a way to Stay In The Zone
I’m working on something, and it’s very important to Stay In The Zone in order for it to be successful. The “something” I’m working on is intriguing, and seems to defy the reality of time. If I can be moderately successful at what I’m attempting (6), it can perhaps add wonderful years of activity to my life.If You Stay In This Zone, You Could Be Younger Next Year. Click To Tweet
The great part is, you can also add years of fun activity to your life. The path I’m on is a path that’s available to all, if you dare to accept the challenge. If you follow this advice, you could also be younger (at least physiologically) next year than you are today. (7)
So, I’m on a quest to find ways to Stay In The Zone. I’ve found 5 so far, and the latest one involves walking my dogs at our cabin. (8).
If you want to be in this Zone, I’d encourage you to find as many ways to get there as possible. It’ll make the challenge a bit more exciting, and help insure you have enough “arrows in your quiver” to accomplish the goal.I Have 5 Ways To Get In The Zone (See Footnote 9) Click To Tweet
I’m having a struggle, because staying In The Zone isn’t comfortable for me (10). Regardless, I’m giving it a focused effort, and I feel great as a result.
So there you have it, The Mystery. Have you figured it out yet? If not, no worries, hit the footnotes below and it will all become crystal clear.
Give it a try, you may just be younger next year as a result! (11).
OK, Now For That Cheat Sheet
Have you figured out what I’m talking about yet? If not, rest easy. In a few short minutes, all of your questions will be answered. The harder question is, are you willing to try it yourself?
This article uses footnotes to fill in “The Mystery” above. Read through the footnotes, and the pieces of the puzzle will fall into place. You’ll see firsthand how I’m attempting to Get In The Zone. I’m attempting a different writing style as a “creative writing experiment”, and hope that this approach causes you to rethink a piece of advice that you’ve heard countless times before.
With That Disclaimer, The Footnotes:
The Must Read Footnotes:
DO NOT READ THESE FOOTNOTES UNTIL YOU’VE COMPLETED THE PRIOR SECTION
I’m trying a unique approach today, and suggest you read these footnotes as clues to the real meaning of the story above. Read the story first, then fill in the real meaning below.
(1) I Exceeded The Zone Tonight: Ok, your first hint. I was on a treadmill tonight, and was exceeding my targeted heart rate zone. I was hitting a Heart Rate of 174 beats per minute (bpm) after only 10 mins at a moderate pace. My Heart Rate never used to get that high at that low an effort, but that’s ok (Hey, we’re all getting older). I simply threw in some “fast walking” breaks to slow my Heart Rate down a bit. Seems a 4.2 MPH pace at a 3-6% grade held me pretty steady in my 150 – 155 bpm target.
(2) I’ve Been In The Zone For Years: At Age 39, I finished a marathon in 3 hr 56 min, or a 9 min/mile pace over 26.2 miles. Personally, I achieved my goal of a “Sub-4 Hour Marathon Before 40” (too bad that was 13 years before I’d started this blog, it would have made a nice “Series” on how I trained. Ah well, a missed opportunity.) My HR was consistently in the 160-170 range during the entire marathon. My fitness HR has always been a bit higher than the “general guideline” charts of “220 minus your age”. 165 bpm was a sustainable HR for me at Age 40. Now, at Age 53, I struggle to control my maximum target in a range of 155 -165 bpm.
(3) I Exceed The Zone With Poorer Results: I used to be able to run a steady 7.2 MPH on the treadmill for 4 miles, with my Heart Rate <165 bpm.. Now, I can’t run 2 miles at a turtle-like 6.7 MPH without taking a walking break at the 10 min mark due to my Heart Rate running up to 175 bpm. What’s happening to me? I’m getting older, and I’m not in the physical shape I used to be in. That’s ok, I’m working the zone.
(4) Out Of The Zone: How could my HR be above max (175 bpm) when I was only running 6.5 MPH? I used to run 7.2 MPH with a lower heart rate!! Argh, this is really frustrating. That’s ok, calm down. Just focus on staying in the targeted zone.
(5) Getting In The Zone: If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m talking about spending time within your targeted heart rate zone, which I’ll define in Footnote 6.
(6) What I’m Attempting: I’m starting a moderate program which requires you to shoot for 45 Minutes in your Targeted Heart Range for 6 days every week. Below are the heart rate zones you should target (as a 53 year old, I’m targeting 136 – 153 bpm, which you’ll see in the right column):
(7) The Advice I’m following is from a fascinating book, Younger Next Year, written by a Dr. who specializes in longevity, and co-authored by a 73 year old “subject” who has applied these techniques. The Doctor, Henry Lodge, swears that we can be as healthy at 73 as we are at 53, and the biggest single factor is to strive for 45 minutes, 6 days of week, in your targeted heart rate zone. He bases this statement on thousands of patients who have followed his advice. “The Subject”, co-author Chris Crowley, is living proof of the technique. Interesting stuff, and I figured it was worth a try.
(8) Ways To Stay In The Zone: Dr. Lodge encourages the reader to find various forms of moderate exercise, which makes it easier to hit the “6 days a week target”. I recently found a GREAT trail at the cabin to walk the dogs. At a brisk walk, it takes me exactly 45 minutes to do the 3+ mile out/back, and it ends with a KILLER hill that juices my heart up to 175 BPM. Then, after Masochist Hill, a nice 5 minute “cool down” on a flat stretch back to the cabin. It’s AWESOME, and I do it every day that I’m at the cabin.
(9) My 5 activities to achieve my targeted Heart Rate: (1) Jogging on treadmill at Apartment, (2) Walking the dogs on that brutal 45 minute loop at the cabin (love that loop!), (3) Running on roads at Apartment & Cabin, sometimes including my racehorse dog on my cabin runs, (4) My X-Country ski machine, when I can’t get outside, and (4) Swimming (no surprise there, given that I won at Olympic Medal in swimming!
(10) The Zone Isn’t Comfortable For Me: It’s uncomfortable for me to “hold myself back” to my 136 – 153 bpm optimal Heart Rate Target. Running at what used to be a normal pace pushes me to 175 bpm, and I feel like I’m “cheating” if I take a bunch of high speed walking breaks to get my heart back down to 150 bpm. I want to be able to run 4 miles again, but I don’t think I’ll ever get there if I let the Heart Rate target guide my pace and walking breaks. It a very difficult adjustment for me, an acknowledgement that I’m getting older.
(11) Younger Next Year: The title stems from Dr. Lodge’s conviction that if you do this routine for 1 year, your body will in fact perform as a younger body than when you started a year earlier. Further, he claims you will maintain this level of fitness well into your 70’s if you maintain the routine.
Having the physical ability to enjoy life is important, especially in the early years of retirement. Make the effort now to find a consistent way to get your Heart Rate up, and you’ll benefit for years to come. It’s time to put the excuses away, and head outside for a brisk walk.
Ironically, I received the following text from a good friend who recently retired as I was concluding today’s post:
Take advice from someone who’s living a great retirement, and focus on getting yourself in shape. Your retirement, and you life, will benefit from the effort. And, if Dr. Lodge knows what he’s talking about, it’s possible you just might get younger in the process.
Do You Want To Be Younger Next Year?
Make A Commitment.
Then, Go For A Walk.