Training for Aging is a Journey, Not a Destination

Training for Aging
You can use your fingers to help your toes, as you train for aging and fight peripheral arterial disease.

Aging is truly the toughest endurance sport.

For me it has become a way of life, even though we train for aging our whole lives. Most importantly, it’s never too late to start. I qualified for the 2023 World Half Ironman Championships this year by the skin of my teeth. On race day in August I will have just turned 80 years of age. I don’t think of myself as an octogenarian, more a five-year old trapped in an aging body. Actually I qualified by the skin of my feet, thanks to solid swim and bike legs. I’ve been fighting a battle against peripheral arterial disease for about eight years. It prevents enough blood reaching my calves (claudication) and feet (numbness).

Even wrote a book about it. Want a free copy of the ebook? Just go to my writers website, Wrong Name Books, where there’s download link.

One thing that helps my struggling feet, who don’t get quite enough blood, especially running, is to both spread and flex my toes. This helps blood to flow more freely through my feet. That said, I’m always seeking better ways to operate my feet, and by chance, the other day, while running, I noticed that as I attempted to spread my toes, my fingers on the ipsilateral (same) side of my body spread in unison.

Light bulb went on: how about the converse? Not the shoes, doing the opposite thing. So I started to spread my fingers and then flex them, in time with my toes, and it worked. This is a way you can get those recalcitrant (biomechanically neglected) toes to do your bidding. Use your fingers to train your toes.

It helps blood flow, at least a little, and every little bit helps.

Now to epiphany number two:

“Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits.” – A.A. Milne or Satchel Page?

I was busy sitting and thinking about the fragility and tenderness of the skin on the balls of my feet, as I run, and thought, “Wait a minute. That redness reminds me of the response to cold, even with a little itching. Maybe the soles of my feet need some heat. To help them along?

I went off through my training mess to seek foot warmers that go in your shoes.

Training for aging
I could only find toes warmers, and in the end I had to go to Amazon to buy foot warmers I couldn’t find in local stores that used to carry them all the time – Amazon is killing local businesses, and I’m helping? Damn! Anyway, my feet said, “Buy them, Kevin.” They are on the way!

I did a test run, with the toe warmers under the balls of my feet. Not ideal, but I felt, and noticed, a distinct improvement in the skin on the soles of my feet during and after a 1.5-mile run, respectively. I’ll test this further, as I like to “Science the shit out of aging problems.”

“Thank you Mark Watney.”

Never give up.

-kev aka FitOldDog

This is one of the benefits of training for aging, the ultimate endurance sport!

training for aging
MRI scans through the thighs of three guys. Grey is muscle, white is fat, clear ring around the central white spot (bone marrow) is the femoral bone. Note the loss of both muscle and bone mass in the sedentary guy.

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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.