I work out very regularly. There have been times in my life when I don't work out as often as I should, when my commitment has fallen by the wayside, but following the downward spiral of my health some years ago I have been quite, I hesitate to use this word, "religious" about it. Particularly since I had gained a lot of weight and I wanted to lose it. But of course losing weight is mainly diet and not exercise (but that is another story).
And I try not to talk about it too much but I suspect I probably am more of a pain in the ass about my workouts and my health than my friends are willing to tell me. For which I apologize to any of my friends who are reading this :-). But I enthuse about it because my lifestyle change did really good things for me and I want my friends to be able to benefit from it.
However, there was a story that I heard just a few weeks ago that really really hit home with me. A good friend of mine, who is in his 60s, recently had open heart surgery and something like a triple or quadruple bypass. I did not find out about this until some three weeks after it had occurred. I called him and when I finally caught him at home he had just come back from walking for 3 miles. Wow! And when I saw him in the flesh 4 weeks later he had just finished a 6000 mile flight. And looked great. Thankfully he didn't show me the scar (although I'm sure he wanted to :-) ).
Now my friend had always been someone who worked out all the time. He watched his diet, exercised regularly, he lived a very healthy lifestyle in general. And yet, things can happen. From what was more than likely genetic issues, he ended up with a significant heart problem. And had to get it taken care of. And he did. Into the hospital, got cut open, and ... all done.
However he told me what his doctor said about his quick recovery ... and this is what I haven't been able to get out of my head, "This is why you have been working out all all your life."
And if you haven't gotten the point of the story yet, it is that a guy in his 60s had open heart surgery, was opened up from groin to chest, and three weeks following the surgery was walking 3 miles (a day)! If that isn't a great motivator for staying in shape ... I don't know what is.
Yes, you can workout to lose weight, look better, to feel better ... but in my opinion, regardless of your age, what becomes more critical when you are sick, is recovery time. When I was younger (I mean in my 40s) I used to get sick a lot (flus, coughs, etc.). And generally it would last for 2 - 3 weeks (sometimes longer), especially the respiratory stuff. In addition, I used to injure my back (muscular stuff), and that too tended to lay me out for weeks.
When I finally had my "ah ha" moment and changed my lifestyle, one of the first things I did was I forced myself to be out and moving every day (because I was inspecting the hotel my partners and I were building at the time). It wasn't much in the beginning, I was just walking back and forth from our other hotel a few times a day (150 meters or so). But as the hotel grew (up to 11 floors), the exercise increased on a weekly basis. And it wasn't until almost the end of the project that I realized that my back problems didn't seem to be happening nearly as often, and I had only been sick once in the last year. Talk about a wow moment. I used to be in pain almost every single day from my back. Being pain free is one of the coolest things in the world. Even just writing about it is making me smile.
Very often I have read in books how younger people think that they will live forever, or that they think they are immortal or some lash up of clichés like that. Well I guess authors write that because it does have a tendency to be true. But if you're into working out already ... all I can say is ... don't ever give it up. Because the day will come when you will be extremely thankful for sticking with it. And if you aren't into working out ... get into it. There are an enormous variety of ways to work out and get the benefit, but you have to just START. I'm not saying train like a maniac. I am saying get out and MOVE.