This week celebrates two years of posting on this site. I didn’t know anything about the gym, machines, really good diets, how to make muscles, how many different sports activities there are, what it takes to lose weight, protein shakes, how passionate people are about their physical pursuits. Now I am much better informed. Hopefully some of you are too.

I took a picture of my abs yesterday. Still something showing, even with the extra weight I gained. I swear I am going to make bigger muscles. I promise…

The benefits of fitness and how to become toned really seem so obvious now, even if many of us can’t stick to the diets or gym visits. I read there is a gene, a congenital chemical reason why some like to exercise. I will post the story’s highlights another day. I may have one half of that gene, but after being deprived while traveling for 11 days, I am desperate to stretch and strain. I am not addicted to muscle-building…that is an effort. But it’s easy for me to hit tennis balls 10-plus hours a week. Maybe I have a tennis gene?

I also reached my 70th birthday on April 5th. Given my major goal of keeping fit and able to play sports, be very mobile, nimble and retain my memory…as long as I breathe, I am quite pleased. I know a good bit of this achievement is my genetic makeup. But I also watch my diet, avoid excessive alcohol, no drugs, and lead a pretty clean life. If it sounds boring, then listen on the phone with me as I talk to people in their 50′s who are having cat scans, MRI’s, tests in hospitals, are overweight and tired, hurt when they play sports. I want to avoid that scenario as long as possible.

Today at tennis, a fellow I have been playing with for over a year said he thought I was his age, just 56. I liked stunning him with the facts. After being a bit sad to leave my ’60s and listening to all the well-meant advice about how 70 is “only a number,” I overcame my upset with the sincere rationalization and belief that at least I have lived this long. It is really a blessing. Just listen to people in war and starvation zones all over the world. Just think of those who are sick and seeing doctors, although they are under 50 or 30 or even yesterday a friend under 20, and there is absolutely no justification for any complaint about getting older. OK a tiny regret that we can’t do what we used to do, but then we can at least do now whatever we can do now.

Yesterday a friend in her 40′s said that when she was 30 pounds lighter in high school, she could stand on her hands, even walk on her heavily-calloused hands “around the neighborhood.” She could stay upside down for 20 to 30 minutes at a time. No support. Feet not touching the ground. I am enormously impressed with this revelation. My record in my late 40′s was just 47 seconds. I never reached my goal of one minute. Of course I told my friend she could become fitter now, even though she is a working mom, with a zillion responsibilities more than in high school. She doesn’t have homework these days…

Groggy from a trip to England and Scotland, still jet lagging, another five pounds heavier from fatty foods that were unavoidable there—I have now gained 12 pounds in the last 90 days—I still started exercising again this week. Push ups, crunches, tennis (8 1/4 hours in 4 days and 2-3 scheduled for tomorrow) are all being done easily. Athough my tennis is very poor: I lost three sets of singles today, 2-6, 0-6, 0-6 to someone who usually wins, but after I take 3-4 games. I will get better again. That is the challenge. That is the fun for me. What is your passion?

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