7.30.16 ~ Dunking When I’m 40

I’m 39, but my mind still thinks I’m 18 and because of this conflict I try to do things I shouldn’t do.

A couple of years ago at a track meet there was a coaches relay and our head coach, my wife, talked me in to running the relay with her.  It was supposed to be a 4 X 50 meter relay, but because only two of our coaches were running we were able to run a 2 X 100.  I pulled my hamstring, which is what I always did when I was younger, but for different reasons this time … mainly my being out of shape.  My mind still thought I should be good to go, my body said otherwise.

A few years ago I set the goal of being able to dunk a basketball on my 40th birthday, and besides the occasional dunk attempt when I’m in the gym I haven’t put a whole lot of time in preparing my body for this goal.  Again, my mind thinks I’m 18 and I should just be able to walk out there and throw down a nice dunk.  Every once and awhile I get lucky and can throw down a one handed old man dunk, but most of the time I simply get rim checked. Probably something I shouldn’t even be attempting.

Part of this goal is the continued reality of needing to take care of myself through diet and exercise.  In the last couple of years I’ve been into distance running having completed a couple of half-marathons and the occasional 5k or 10k fun run.  Just over a year ago I weighed 40 pounds more than I do now, and my weight has been controlled pretty much by a lifestyle change in our eating habits.  I have my wife to thank for that.

I feel a whole lot better, am healthier, and I look at food a lot differently than I used to.  The message here for us as parents is to take care of ourselves.  To take care of ourselves so we can be healthy enough to spend quality time with our children; to ride bikes around town, to race them when they challenge, to play them one on one in basketball, and to simply model for them a healthy lifestyle.

My goal of dunking at 40 is becoming more of a reality now that my 40th birthday is 6 months away, and while I haven’t done hardly anything in the last 15 years to ensure the reality of this goal yesterday I decided it was time.  I’m going to start running again, not sprinting, to help stay in shape and keep a decent cardio foundation.  I ran a half marathon in March, and I haven’t done a whole lot of running since.  I also decided I would start lifting weights again, both upper and lower body.  I haven’t really lifted weights since I was 22 years old when I finished playing college basketball.  There have been a few seasons of periodically lifting weights over the last 17 years but nothing was sustained, and nothing that would have helped me dunk at age 40.

I doubt I’ll strap on the Jump Soles again, although I wouldn’t put it past me if I could find a pair, but I’ll see what I can do with weights and plyometrics to get my quick twitch muscles in shape.  If nothing else, even if I can’t dunk on my 40th birthday I’ll be in better shape in 6 months, and that is what I am really after anyway.  Maintaining my health for me, for my wife, and for my sons is the ultimate goal here.  Who knows maybe after I relive the glory days with my dunking antics, I’ll set my sights on of my other physical goals of running a marathon.

Parents, and anyone else reading this, I encourage you today to be healthy and active.  There’s a little bit of sacrifice and self-discipline involved, but it’s really not that hard.  In fact the hardest part might be getting started.  Here are a few tips that might help get you on your way.

1) Start slow.  Don’t have to tackle everything all at once.  Start slow and work your way up.

2) Find a training partner.  Find someone you can train with, set goals together, and hold each other accountable to work out.

3) Find a professional to help.  Personal trainers, and Nutritional Therapy Practitioners like my wife are here to help and they want to help.  Use them.

4) Put something on the calendar.  When I have a race on the calendar, I train.  When I don’t have anything on the calendar, I don’t train.  Put something on the calendar and work towards that goal.

5) Set goals.  Like the last point set a goal and work towards it.  Weight loss, dunking the basketball, and any other number of goals are legit as they as we can own them and they motivate us to work towards them.

6) Be consistent.  Consistency is huge in health and fitness.  Having said that, there will be times when we make mistakes or aren’t as consistent as we need to be.  Don’t beat yourself up during these times of inconsistency, just refocus and get back to work.

7) Have fun.  This might be the most important.


About Luke Ankeny

Encouragement for navigating life's journey together. View all posts by Luke Ankeny

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