Monday, October 21, 2013

Whoa ... But Don't Overdo It!

     I agreed to play golf with a new friend of mine, a fellow I met playing table tennis. One evening at the table tennis club we got talking and discovered we both play golf. He told me he's been playing with the same foursome for years, but recently one of the guys had to drop out because of a health issue, so they're looking for a replacement.

     The fellow is a couple of years older than I am, but in pretty good shape, and he told me how he scores, which is about like me, so I agreed we should play sometime.

     He emailed me a few days later. Could I make a tee time at 8 a.m. the following Monday? Sorry, I wrote back, I was going to be away for a long weekend; and besides, I didn't know if I wanted to be out on the golf course that early, especially in the fall when it's cold in the morning.

     He emailed me again with a second invitation, and again I couldn't play. Finally, the third time he asked, I agreed to join him at 9:30 a.m. on Friday.

     He had a tee time at a course I'd never played before. It's only a nine-hole course; you play around twice. He acknowledged that it's not a particularly challenging layout, although it is kind of hilly. That's okay, I told him.

     Friday morning it was 48 degrees when I got up. I stepped outside and confirmed that, yes, it was cold. So I put on long underwear, dressed warmly, and drove up to meet my new friend. It turned out his friends were even older than he was. The two other guys were going to ride in a golf cart; but my friend was walking. So I agreed to walk as well, to keep my friend company -- and to show that I'm not a wimp.

     So I set out across the golf course -- to walk about five miles, up and down hills, with a 20-some-pound golf bag on my shoulder. The sun came out and the temperature climbed up into the 50s, and then the 60s. By the time we were trudging around the course the second time, it was getting pretty hot, probably in the 70s  -- which is not so bad, except, remember, I had on long underwear.

     I was pretty tired by the time we finished, around 2 p.m. I'd stripped off two outer layers, but still had on way too much clothing. Plus, I probably didn't drink enough water. I had one bottle with me, and drank a little extra from the water fountain.

     On the way home I stopped at Home Depot. It's fall planting season. The shrubs were selling for half price, and I had a couple of bare spots to fill in my front bushes.

     So I bought a couple of plants, and a few bags of gardening soil, and muscled them into to my car. By this time I was feeling kind of woozy, so I stopped at the nearby fast-food joint and had a soda and a snack.
     When I got home, I thought I should probably go inside for a while and rest up; maybe pop a couple of aspirin, because by this time I was developing a headache, too. But I wanted to get the Home Depot stuff out of my car. So I lugged it all out; and then it seemed I should just go ahead and plant the stuff now -- if I went inside I might never come back out to finish the job.

     So there I was, still in my long underwear, huffing and puffing and sweating my way through the job -- digging holes in the hard-packed clay dirt, laying down some gardening soil, placing the plants, filling in the holes and then hauling out the hose to water them down.

     By the time I got inside, around 4:30 p.m., I was exhausted. I was certainly dehydrated, and maybe even had a little bit of sunstroke. I chugged a 12-ounce bottle of water, and then began to sip some more. I took two aspirin. Then I realized I had to take the dog out for a walk, which I did. I stumbled back 20 minutes later, stripped off my long underwear, down to my skivvies, and put my feet up. I closed my eyes and felt the waves of exhaustion pulse through me.

     Half an hour later I went upstairs and took a long shower, warm at first, then cool. I dressed and drank more water, and when B came home we had a light dinner. I took more aspirin, drank more water, and finally by about 8 p.m. I was feeling more like myself. Tired, but better.

     I slept well that night. But as I drifted off to sleep I scolded myself -- I'm not in my 30s or 40s, or even my 50s, anymore. I can't do as much as I sometimes think I can -- and I simply cannot ignore the signals my body gives me, like I used to when I was younger.

     Exercise is good and necessary. But it's not a smart idea to overdo it, and it's certainly not a smart idea to allow yourself to get dehydrated and overheated and overtired. My old body can still do a lot of things. The one thing it can't do anymore is take the abuse.


Meryl Baer said...

You are so right - the younger us could ignore and work through the pains, but we do so at our peril. Glad you revived and were fine the next day.

Juhli said...

Whoa - that is a lot of exercise and in long underwear no less LOL. You are right of course about taking the time to make sure we are hydrated, etc. Glad you ended the day feeling ok.

rosaria williams said...

You are lucky you didn't pass out with overheating at the very least.
Staying active is good up to a point.

Linda Myers said...

I chuckled a little in sympathy. It's taken me a while to figure out how much exercise is good enough and how much is too much.

Hope you're fine now.

Stephen Hayes said...

Getting old isn't for wimps. Take care and don't overdo.

Anonymous said...

It is a shock when you realize you just can't do what you used to do. Welcome to the club. Dianne

DJan said...

I have come to realize the same thing, Tom. I have now experienced heat exhaustion twice on my hikes with the Senior Trailblazers, and now I take hydration very seriously. It makes a huge difference. That, and moderation. I'm going to be 71 in a month! :-)

Douglas said...

It's a shock, isn't it? To realize that you are no longer in your twenties? You wake up, look in the mirror... and ignore the old man staring back at you. Until you overdo it... just a bit. Fortunately, I have no long underwear. And I have been (for many years now) cognizant of the way the weather changes here in Paradise, from the 40's to the 70's in a matter of maybe two hours. So I layer up and constantly strip off. But I do forget to hydrate at times and pay with those headaches too.

Rita said...

You're amazing that you did that well with getting overheated. When I do that (and I try to avoid it now), I have to go to bed for 24 hours to get myself back on track.


gabbygeezer said...

Yup, and the need not to overdo gets stronger with age. I've always walked behind a lawn mower for exercise.The lawn is big, and two years ago the task started making me seriously overtired. Now I mow half of it one day and half the next. The lawn has a natural division, so esthetics are maintained. Dividing the work has turned out to be a good adjustment.

Anonymous said...

A few years ago (I am now 62) my doctor rendered the considered medical opinion: "You're no spring chicken any more." Quite accurate.

I mentioned this to a retired friend in discussion of how we have to accept our limitations. "Don't do things, just to prove you still could." I sit down to put on my underpants, as I occasionally catch one toe on the band & then hop around because I can't get it loose. I figured one of these days I would completely lose by balance, fall over & break some bodily part because I was too vain to accept my limitations.
Remember Dirty Harry; "A man's gotta know his limitations."

Knatolee said...

I'm getting to the stage (50) where I have to try to listen to my poor body and not push so hard sometimes. I'm not sure I'll ever be very good at that. Great post!

Anonymous said...

Uh...Tom...I thought that you were smarter than that!! The moment I read that you were putting on long underwear for 48-degree temp, I groaned. Really????!
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