Choosing a Lifestyle of Fitness: Bryan Heathman’s Fit After Fifty Story

by Alison McIrvin
Bryan Heathman playing tennis

Like many of us, Bryan Heathman played sports in high school. Tennis, skiing, and volleyball were often some of his recreational choices. Bryan’s dad worked as the director of a health facility, which allowed Bryan to establish a regular habit of attending after-school fitness classes.

Early on, Bryan learned that he unconsciously placed limitations on what he perceived his body could perform. He also discovered the power of mental limitations on his body’s capacity for challenge.

[Related: Self-Talking Your Way to a Healthy Snapshot: Eric Rouzee’s Fit After Fifty Story]

Moving into his 40s, fitness became more of a priority for Bryan. Playing tennis regularly each week has satisfied his need for social fitness and moving up in rankings. Tennis also helps to support Bryan’s pursuit of lifelong health. It is a sport that Bryan shares with his wife and many good friends, so it’s a good fit and provides the motivation to get up early to work out on a consistent basis.

Bryan Heathman skiing
Bryan has enjoyed skiing since he was in high school.

As he moved through his 40s and into his 50s, Bryan realized that he needed a balance of cardio for endurance and strength training for overall fitness. His gym routine takes about 30 minutes, which Bryan feels is manageable in his busy personal and professional life and keeps him injury-free to pursue the tennis that he loves.

[Related: Recommended Amount of Weekly Physical Activity for Older Adults]

Bryan made a conscious decision to choose a “lifestyle of fitness” so that his body could handle the rigors of aging. His doctor shared that the human body loses 2% of its muscle naturally per year. Given this, he realized the importance of maintaining a level of fitness as we age to offset the natural state of weakening

One of Bryan’s inner values is best summed up by a quote he saw posted at a gym:

“The healthy man has a thousand dreams. The sick man has but one.”

Various injuries have sidelined Bryan for sometimes up to three months at a time, forcing him to fight back to his original fitness levels. Bryan’s philosophy toward health and fitness plays a pivotal role in his recovery.

[Related: Injury Isn’t Inevitable: How to Safely Work Out]

Bryan Heathman posing with his motorcycle
Staying in shape has allowed Bryan to pursue new opportunities as he has gotten older, such as riding his motorcycle.

“It has been a philosophy of having a ‘lifestyle of fitness’ into my 80s that carries me forward. I figure that as we age, we can enjoy so much more of life if we maintain our strength and flexibility. As a result, so many additional opportunities open up to us as we age.”

Hacks that have worked for Bryan:

  • Investing in sports recovery when injured and to prevent injury
  • Maintaining a balance between working out and eating what he loves
  • Keeping his gym workouts to a manageable level to ensure consistency
  • Keeping fitness activities social so that they satisfy multiple goals

Nutrition is now playing more of a role in Bryan’s life than it did in his earlier years. Ignoring nutrition earlier on had led to health issues, resulting in dehydration.

[Related: Seniors’ Complete Guide to Hydration]

A passion for sweets is a factor in losing or gaining weight, and Bryan knows that this will have to change as he moves into his 60s.

Bryan loves the flavors of certain foods, but he doesn’t appreciate the weight gain that can accompany enjoying them frequently. He has established a natural equilibrium between eating and working out, which helps him to maintain an outlook for himself that creates inner satisfaction. When his diet gets out of balance or his fitness falls short, then his waistline pays a price!

Bryan Heathman playing tennis
Tennis allows Bryan to exercise and stay social at the same time.

Clearly, Bryan’s conscious choice of a lifestyle of health and fitness is paying off in his pursuit of everything he enjoys. How have you incorporated fitness into your lifestyle?

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