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Fitness for Seniors (Me)


I have an admission to make. (Well, it's not so much of an admission because you could look it up on Wikipedia in about five seconds.) Today, November 22, 2013 -- the 50th anniversary of Jack Kennedy's assassination -- I am seventy (70) years old.

Fifty years ago today, I was a senior at Dartmouth College, getting dressed to go visit my girlfriend at Skidmore for my birthday, when I heard the news. I went down to Saratoga Springs, New York, anyway and spent the weekend in a motel, watching television. I saw Ruby kill Oswald, easily the most dramatic moment of live TV ever.

I remember it pretty vividly, more vividly than a lot things in the fifty years since, some of which happened considerably more recently but, hey, I'm seventy.

Fortunately, I'm told I don't look it and I know I don't feel it. Seventy is the new sixty -- or is it fifty? I seem to have as much energy as I ever had. Since resigning as PJ Media CEO last February, I'm writing up a storm with book and film projects lined up. My tennis game is better than it was when I was twenty-five. Also, I'm only about five pounds heavier than I was then and quite a bit more muscular.

I haven't always been this way. Sometimes I have been pudgy and out of shape. Maybe more than sometimes -- decades. No longer. As I got older, I panicked. It was now or never. Either start moving my body seriously or, well, it's finito la comedia. I'm on my way out.

I started moving. Now I'm religious about staying in shape. I exercise six days a week, sometimes seven. Often I exercise more than once a day. In fact, the days I don't exercise, I am frequently depressed. I'm probably addicted to exercise at this point. At least I hope I am because I want to be addicted. I just love those endorphins and the rest of the goodies that get released -- serotonin, dopamine, etc. Exercise is a complete mood alterer for me. It beats therapy by a mile -- trust me, I've done enough to know -- and it's a helluva lot cheaper. (No, you're not going to see a selfie. I'm not running for mayor of New York -- or Toronto.)

So what do I do? The easiest part is playing tennis. I'm a lifetime player (since age 7 approximately) and I play now 3-4 four times a week, singles and doubles. When I play doubles it's usually for two hours, singles for an hour. Doubles can sometimes feel like not much of a workout, it's such a strategy game. Singles, against a good player, is always a workout. Every Tuesday morning at eight, I take an hour lesson with Godwin Omuta, a former member of the Nigerian Davis Cup team who is six foot three and has an amused smile on his face as he runs me unmercifully around the court.