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Old 26.05.2011, 01:51
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"May I ask ... how old are you?" and the aging hiker

Today it happened again ...

I was climbing Mount Lafayette, a neighboring mountain with 3,600 feet (1,100 meters) of elevation gain. On the final push to the summit I was going at my geriatric pace A group of three young men (definitely below 30, possibly a third of my age each ) passed me. One asked the question, and when told I was 74 said he hoped that he would be half as active at that age.

This often happens to me, in francophone Switzerland the question begins: "Sans indiscretion ...", followed by the question some might consider indiscreet.

I am ambivalent about this question. On one level, of course, I am delighted, and yes, I round my age up to my next birthday (I will not be 74 until late this summer ). On the other hand I am sad that so many younger people do not realize that this is not just me. Most active members of my generation simply have no intention of hanging up their boots (or whatever they use in their preferred activity) and leading a sedentary life.

I would love to hear from other EFers who have continued being active "later in life".
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Old 26.05.2011, 02:01
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Re: "May I ask ... how old are you?" and the aging hiker

Awesome that you still rock on at 74.

as a "young" one, I never pictured myself beyond 30. So 74 is some multiple of my age I cannot even begin to fathom. that's why we don't realize what is capable or incapable at 40+.
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Old 26.05.2011, 02:41
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Re: "May I ask ... how old are you?" and the aging hiker

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Awesome that you still rock on at 74.
I love compliments, which is why you got thanked But the point, of course, is that I do not rock. I slowly plod up the mountain, enjoying the views on a sunny day like today, and grateful that I can still do so.

Last summer I was doing a hike in the Sassertal and slowly crossing an unpleasant area of rockfall, while younger hikers were flying past me I saw a man my age coming, equally slowly, in the opposite direction. When we crossed he did not greet me, but just said, slowly, "langsam ... langsam". I only know a very few words of German, but I do know that langsam means "slowly". So I smiled, nodded, and replied: "langsam". Langsam is the senoior hiker's friend

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as a "young" one, I never pictured myself beyond 30. So 74 is some multiple of my age I cannot even begin to fathom. that's why we don't realize what is capable or incapable at 40+.
I think you hit the nail on the head! I remember my late mother, in her seventies at the time, telling me with a huge smile that, when she was a teenager, she believed that people 30+ should be "disposed of properly"
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Old 26.05.2011, 07:24
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Re: "May I ask ... how old are you?" and the aging hiker

Excellent post!
Coming from a family of people who seem hell-bent on pushing ourselves to destruction physically (my mum didn`t START doing half marathons until she was 60 . . . she said `I`ll have some of that . `. ) - I have started to get similar comments that you did in the mountains.
Actually last weekend - having signed up for Sunday 5-a-side, someone said to me `Bloody hell, I hope I`m still playing when I get to your age` - he meant it in a purely complimentary sense of course (you did . . didn`t you?).
The thing is . . .there are still so many things I want to do and I suppose you reach a point in life when you realise that time is ticking - but then, why should you conform to social sterotypes and stop doing things if you are still physically capable?
I say . . Keep going . . . as long as you can . . . it`s good for your body and more importantly . . your soul.
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Old 26.05.2011, 08:24
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Re: "May I ask ... how old are you?" and the aging hiker

I hope my parents will turn out to be like you. They are in their early 60s but have a lazy lifestyle compared to the people here in swiss. Hiking is strange to them. They were here for a short visit and tgoing to the ruins in baden they hardly reached the top. They enjoyed less than an hour walking around a lake in luzern but already started complaining on the way back.

Even i myself am just starting to appreciate hiking and walking here and im loving how im getting used to it. When i just got here, tha walk to the kindergarten with my daughter already annoyed me (and her) everyday. But after a few months, im just worried about getting stronger shoes.
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Old 26.05.2011, 08:29
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Re: "May I ask ... how old are you?" and the aging hiker

I went on a slightly strenuous hike in Tessin last year and met an 85 year old man at the top of the mountain. I was so proud of him that I kissed him.
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Old 26.05.2011, 08:31
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Re: "May I ask ... how old are you?" and the aging hiker

"You don't stop doing things because you grow old, you grow old because you stop doing things."

Good for you Mr RetiredInNH and the rest of you older than some of us.
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Old 26.05.2011, 08:39
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Re: "May I ask ... how old are you?" and the aging hiker

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"You don't stop doing things because you grow old, you grow old because you stop doing things."
Exactly that. I see this so often amongst older people.

However you need to be active in your 40s and 50s - if you wait until you are 70+ it may well be too late. I also see far too many people of my age that are already heading downhill.
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Old 26.05.2011, 09:11
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Re: "May I ask ... how old are you?" and the aging hiker

I'm 74 and, although I don't go in for mountain-climbing, living in the centre of Lausanne gives me a daily heart workout.
I go to the gym 3 times a week when I'm in Switzerland and, when I'm in London, I've got 8 little grandchildren to keep me active.
I've given up on the football though to concentrate on my finger-wagging!!
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Old 26.05.2011, 09:39
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Re: "May I ask ... how old are you?" and the aging hiker

im motivated to start running from tommorow, no from today
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Old 26.05.2011, 10:01
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Re: "May I ask ... how old are you?" and the aging hiker

The hormone high and buzz you get from physical activity is addictive. If you haven't yet discovered the thousands of miles of trails and paths throughout Switzerland you're missing out on free therapy and physical bliss. There's nothing to beat that exhilarating feeling of being part of the Alpine landscape and the new views at every turn coupled with the favor that you're doing to your body. And the tired glow when you get back home, exhausted, but with a knowing grin stretching from ear to ear.
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Old 26.05.2011, 10:07
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Re: "May I ask ... how old are you?" and the aging hiker

I saw a man, who must have been in his sixties, learning to ski last year. The thing about being older is that, while you perhaps don't have the same level of energy as the young, you are far better at using what you do have to the full - you've been doing it longer.
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Old 26.05.2011, 10:11
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Re: "May I ask ... how old are you?" and the aging hiker

OP, more power to you. My folks are extremely active, too, not really extreme sports, but a few years back we were cycling and inline skating together. Don't mind the bewildered looks, by the way, it is not uncommon in the US to have entire generations being allergic to any kind of physical activity, so you are bound to meet some questioning looks there. Lotsa Americans do not like to move, no matter how old they are.

I was parking this last winter waiting for a car to make space for me, and here they were jumping out of the car, opening their trunk, picking two pairs of downhill skis, and their suitcases, a couple of over 80yr old. I love that here. Fantastic. Active, engaged, healthy.
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Old 26.05.2011, 10:12
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Re: "May I ask ... how old are you?" and the aging hiker

Forgetting about my recent crisis of jumping into a new decade, I am still far from the 70's, but I really can't take on hiking.

I love going around the woods like once a year, but I am more into the flat route sport... (no naughty ideas!) The fact that I learnt how to "ride" a bike (please read "learnt how to keep on top of the bike for more than 2 min") when I was 24 didn't help much (though the old Finnish gentlemen that applauded when I finally managed to make 3 turns around the little pond really cheered me up).

I re-discovered the pleasure of a sporty life only recently, but I still put kilometres restrictions. Like, not walking more than 5 minutes to sport place *baby steps* *baby steps* I hope when I get to retiring age, I'll be able to walk at least 25 min
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Old 26.05.2011, 11:33
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Re: "May I ask ... how old are you?" and the aging hiker

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Today it happened again ...

I was climbing Mount Lafayette, a neighboring mountain with 3,600 feet (1,100 meters) of elevation gain. On the final push to the summit I was going at my geriatric pace A group of three young men (definitely below 30, possibly a third of my age each ) passed me. One asked the question, and when told I was 74 said he hoped that he would be half as active at that age.

This often happens to me, in francophone Switzerland the question begins: "Sans indiscretion ...", followed by the question some might consider indiscreet.

I am ambivalent about this question. On one level, of course, I am delighted, and yes, I round my age up to my next birthday (I will not be 74 until late this summer ). On the other hand I am sad that so many younger people do not realize that this is not just me. Most active members of my generation simply have no intention of hanging up their boots (or whatever they use in their preferred activity) and leading a sedentary life.

I would love to hear from other EFers who have continued being active "later in life".
I certainly to admire the Swiss older generation. They certainly do not get to a point where they roll out the closing years. I see LOTS of the older folk on the train/tram/bus on their way to doing some sort of outdoor activity and I think it's excellent.

I echo the sentiments of the young guys who made the comment to you. I really hope to be stepping out often for mountain hikes, social stuff, and waltzing (both vertical & horizontal!)

Last edited by Siberian; 26.05.2011 at 12:25. Reason: spelling
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Old 26.05.2011, 11:54
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Re: "May I ask ... how old are you?" and the aging hiker

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Forgetting about my recent crisis of jumping into a new decade, I am still far from the 70's, but I really can't take on hiking.

I love going around the woods like once a year, but I am more into the flat route sport... (no naughty ideas!) The fact that I learnt how to "ride" a bike (please read "learnt how to keep on top of the bike for more than 2 min") when I was 24 didn't help much (though the old Finnish gentlemen that applauded when I finally managed to make 3 turns around the little pond really cheered me up).

I re-discovered the pleasure of a sporty life only recently, but I still put kilometres restrictions. Like, not walking more than 5 minutes to sport place *baby steps* *baby steps* I hope when I get to retiring age, I'll be able to walk at least 25 min
You learned how to ride a bike at 25, I'm 35......TIPS PLEASE!!
I have been 'trying' for years, and am quite fed up, maybe I'm a bit retarded, when it comes to balancing.......
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Old 26.05.2011, 12:02
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Re: "May I ask ... how old are you?" and the aging hiker

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I went on a slightly strenuous hike in Tessin last year and met an 85 year old man at the top of the mountain. I was so proud of him that I kissed him.
Any chance that we will run into each other on a "slightly strenuous" hike this summer
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Old 26.05.2011, 12:05
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Re: "May I ask ... how old are you?" and the aging hiker

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im motivated to start running from tomorrow, no from today
Start today, otherwise we are talking of Wikipedia reference-linkjam tomorrow
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Old 26.05.2011, 12:19
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Re: "May I ask ... how old are you?" and the aging hiker

Talking of late starters, I am reminded of this guy:

Carlos Soria arrived in the Himalayas in 1973, at age 34. It would take 25 years and 8 attempts before the Spanish climber got his first 8000er summit. It arrived on Nanga Parbat, Carlos was 59, and it changed everything. Soria plans number 10 this spring and all 14 before he turns 75.

Source

I would prefer the "slightly strenuous" hikes though, sounds safer and more fun
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Old 26.05.2011, 12:20
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Re: "May I ask ... how old are you?" and the aging hiker

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You learned how to ride a bike at 25, I'm 35......TIPS PLEASE!!
I have been 'trying' for years, and am quite fed up, maybe I'm a bit retarded, when it comes to balancing.......

ihihihihihihi It was very very difficult I must say. My boyfriend tried to do what his father did to him: hold the bike from the back to help keep my balance. It might be ok with a 5 year old kid, but it's not an easy thing to do with a 55kg woman on a bike In the end he just sat next to 3 old Finnish men on the bench and the 4 of them were cheering me up while I fell

In the end I managed to learn how to balance by not using the "normal" way of getting on a bike (foot on pedal and moving one leg over the seat) because I find it too difficult to do if you have still balance problems. Only way for me to get on a bike is with both feet on the floor and lifting body.

Then comes the stiring problem, but my arm scars are proof that I still need a lot longer to master that

My husband tells me that when I am ridding a bike I look like a little witch on a broom stick. Wild hair flowing, speeding like a little child, and screaming "hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii" down-hill
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