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A commenter's input is my entire article, with some input from me in bold for emphasis.

Dear Saga Readers: This article is a perfect example of why I built this platform. Those of you who came over from Medium may be used to this. I use my commenters' stories to make larger points about fitness, health and our life journeys, for all stories are relevant and each will land differently for us.

Saga Patreon supporter NancyL left me this lovely, detailed message on a story I did the other day about aging fitness influencer Joan MacDonald, which has been getting a lot of play lately. Here you go:

My journey is hugely different from anyone else's, and I would never expect anyone to put the time - and money - into "health care prevention" that I do. (I operate on the assumption that every $10 in fitness and nutrition I spend is saving me at least $1000 in medical costs.)   I started at 50 (and am now 63) with a goal of trying some new movement thing every year to see what would stick.  This proved an achievable approach - and was particularly helped by the fact that I started slow, with a low impact dance thing (NIA) and went to Pilates with a coach next. That stuck - my husband recently built me a springboard, which is in the bedroom.  How many people are going to put a springboard in the bedroom?  Only place with a wall to spare.  Added on ice skating, dropped after a few years when I realized my strength imbalance (scoliosis, one more reason to keep at EVERYTHING) was holding me back. Started swimming.  Started jogging. Started weights with a trainer; started Zumba.  Stopped swimming when Covid hit.  Kept all the rest, via Zoom.  Added a group fitness class.  The biggest challenge: fitting it all in while working full time.  At this point I'm working full time to maintain health insurance for a disabled son and to maintain my fitness $ run rate: trainer, Pilates instructor, group class.   And spend on quality whole foods, healthy shoes, blah blah blah.

(This really underscores the point about the cost of fitness. That said, the cost of NOT doing it is a point that Saga Patreon supporter Chris Custer also made. While we have to find ways to mitigate both the cost of the work as well as the time, I love Nancy's point about how the ten bucks invested in our fitness and nutrition is $1000 in the bank saved from bad habits that hurt us later-JH)

Would I tell anyone they could do the same? Hell, no. I'm 13 years in and fighting fit, healthier than I have been since my 20s (actually healthier than I was then, because I dropped the alcohol.)    Still, anyone can do the same thing - make a decision and take one step at a time, adding what feels right and dropping things that are not working.

I don't skip out the door every morning for the daily run with a song on my lips; many mornings I DON'T want to go at all.  I still go.

It's a good way to start your day: fighting your inertia and getting some feel-good blood flow and juice in the joints.  Sets me up until the real workout later in the day.

Thank you for exposing the marketing warnings so the susceptible among us don't fall for it entirely.

If only I could figure out how to add on... but I can't without dropping something.  Guess I will have to save "learn to ride a horse" and "learn to kayak so you don't die in the water" for a future year, like maybe retirement.


In a nutshell. Not all of us can afford the classes and all the attendant work. Not all of us can take the time. But to that, and the larger question is always, if we can't afford the time and dime now, can we really afford ten times the time down and dime for medical expenses later?

Nancy perfectly underscores why I bang this drum so hard. Saga Patreon supporter Penny Nelson teased me last year when she finally got around to letting the cat out of the bag about her new workout program. When it stops being shiny and new, we start the real lifetime slog of doing it anyway.  

Also like Nancy, I have made a habit out of adding a new sport every year. This year it's rucking, with my ruck still on its way. Meanwhile I load up my Camelbak and head out with a few pounds to get used to it.

Also to Nancy's point, my downstairs is littered with gear from the sports I am not going to be doing again, scuba among them. If I add, something has to go.

Finally, there were more times than I care to admit during the last two years when a part of me really wanted to say fuggit. I didn't. Yesterday I hiked three plus miles and ran back, and my legs HURT by the time I got to the bottom. I had to take two naps before I drove home. But I did it, and though I had to take a breather or two on the steep inclines. I did it anyway.

That is fitness money in the bank for our eighties and beyond.

With warm thanks to NancyL for her permission to use the comments. To all other Saga supporters and readers, I am reading, listening and attending. Your comments matter, your corrections are appreciated, and I love to share great stuff. And all of you have great stuff to share.

Black African man holding a sparkler to celebrate the new year.
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