Just Roll With the Punches: Scott Wingate’s Fit After Fifty Story

by Alison McIrvin
Group of women and men jumping in the air and posing near a lake

Scott Wingate has figured out a plan to roll with the punches. At age 59, he can often be found on any of the hiking trails in Washington state, running a local 10K, cycling with friends, or working out at his local gym.

As an Army Ranger qualified, former high school athlete, Scott has always tried to lead an active and fit lifestyle; but as with all of us, he has struggled with periods of less activity and declining fitness. These times have aligned with job moves or other life changes.

The longest period of not working out regularly was when Scott was working 12-hour days between commutes and office time and had a young family. It was a season of starts and stops, making it difficult to nail down a consistent routine.

[Related: Exercises for the Office & Fitness at Work]

Finding a work-life balance was a challenge. However, Scott would eventually find his way back to fitness and a regular routine

A pivotal year for Scott was his 50th.  That year found him summiting Mount Rainier, completing the Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, and participating in other 10K races. All that activity took its toll, and by the end of the year, Scott experienced so much chronic knee pain that stepping over a curb was debilitating.

The prospect of finishing his 50th year hobbling and unable to do the activities he so loved motivated Scott to reconsider his approach. He got his mojo back with a variety of activities.

“Like what you do and choose activities you enjoy.”

Scott adjusted his week to include swimming before work on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and spin classes and lifting after work and on Saturdays. This took the impact off of his knees, but equally important was that he just kept moving even though he couldn’t run anymore. Scheduling workouts into his week was critical to making them happen and staying focused.

When asked what has motivated him to exercise even in those less-than-fit seasons of life, Scott says it can range from pants getting a bit too tight to needing to prepare for an upcoming event, such as a 10K, a major backpacking trip, or the summiting of a major peak. (This guy has been to the summits of both Mount Rainier and Mount Adams in Washington state!)

Clearly, Scott enjoys those activities that demand a significant level of fitness to accomplish.

Hacks that work:

  • Schedule activities throughout the week as “appointments” in your calendar.
  • Mix up midweek workouts to allow for variety in your schedule.
  • If family or work has to squeeze out your workout, then immediately schedule a makeup appointment.
  • Target specific events such as a road race or mountain summit as goals to maintain motivation.
  • Make fitness social by finding friends to do classes, trips, and events with.
  • Use trekking poles while hiking to reduce the knee impact.
  • Like what you do and choose activities you enjoy.

Since turning 50, Scott finds that he rolls with the punches more, and allows a bit more sedentary activity during the winter months than in years past. He always makes time to take the dog out for a long walk, and gets back into a regular routine in the New Year.

Scott recognizes that diseases occur to people regardless of their eating and exercise habits, but feels that staying fit is a form of health insurance. He has not had a sick day from work since 1990, takes no prescription medications, and bounced back very admirably from those knee injuries when he was 50.

Some of Scott’s goals for the future are to run a half marathon in under two hours when he’s 70 and to cross off more classic hikes each year. And, of course, to roll with whatever punches come his way.

How do you roll with the punches? Share your story with us!

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