As you slide into midlife, you should fight aging like it’s breaking into your home and stealing your Nutter Butters. But don’t fight with expensive cosmetic surgeries, fad diets, prescription drugs, and definitely not with a midlife crisis. These approaches may feed your desire for self-gratification, but the long-term side effects are costly, and there are better ways for a middle-aged man to age.
God gave me a focus word to begin 2023 that epitomized my aging philosophy – stronger. I want to grow stronger in mind, body, and spirit every day until the Lord takes me away. Job 17:9 has become my life verse as it encapsulates my heart’s desire: “Yet the righteous will hold to his way, And he who has clean hands will be stronger and stronger.” This mindset should facilitate aging with integrity, dignity, and enthusiasm while supplying the strength and good health to avoid burdening my family. No middle-aged man wants to grow old and be unable to tie his shoes.
So, why not accept my teenage son’s push-up challenge at the end of December? How badly can it go for a 56-year-old middle-aged man?
How many push-ups can a middle-aged man do?
I agreed to the push-up challenge on a cocky whim, feeling good about the 30 pounds I’d lost since January. The goal was to perform the max number of push-ups in one set, do it every day for a week, and add two the following week. Rinse and repeat until I couldn’t add two and see how long I could go. In my very early 40’s, I set a goal of 100 push-ups, which I accomplished after months of training, so this challenge should be like a hot spoon through a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia.
On day one, I set my nose to the carpet and started pushing up. At around 25, I realized midlife had whipped my butt despite the recent weight loss. I strained on number 34 and almost blew out my eyeballs, striving for 35.
Aging is humbling.
So, week one was 34 push-ups, week two was 36, week three was 38, etc., all the way to 100 consecutive days. Something that began on a lark lit a spark and synchronized with my heart’s desire to grow stronger every day – because I did grow stronger every day.
The results were tangible.
Within three weeks, my max number increased by ten to 45, so my mind focused on 50, which came two weeks later. The target became 100, and I started doing multiple sets daily to train for it. A month after hitting 100 straight days, I did 71 push-ups, more than a 100% improvement since day one.
June 30th marked half a year of consistently doing push-ups, the perfect day to reach 10,000 total.
10,027, to be exact, because every one mattered. Not bad for a middle-aged man.
What’s the takeaway for a middle-aged man?
You choose how you age.
Unquestionably, our bodies are aging with every passing second. Job 14:5 says,
“You have decided the length of our lives.
You know how many months we will live,
and we are not given a minute longer.“
We won’t live forever, and who wants to? Have you seen the world lately? But every day that the good Lord gives us breath, we choose between things that build up or tear down our bodies. And let’s face it. As you transition from a middle-aged man to an old one, these choices will determine your quality of life. No one escapes another biblical truth.
You reap what you sow. Galatians 6:7.
Middle-aged men can get stronger as they age
This middle-aged man isn’t me, but he proves it could be. And it could be you.
My push-up challenge proves that middle-aged men can get stronger as they age. Did you know that the number of push-ups a middle-aged man can do correlates with his risk of cardiovascular disease? Your ability to do 40 push-ups reduces the chance of cardiovascular disease by 96%. I wasn’t aware of this study when I spontaneously decided to do the push-up challenge, but I will diligently work to keep my number over 40.
You don’t have to let your body decay by default. Your hair may fly away, but your waistline and blood pressure don’t have to follow suit. You can choose good health by eating and drinking better, taking good supplements, and getting better sleep. I swear by these probiotics now because they prevent me from getting up at night to pee.
A few simple healthy changes and a proactive mindset will help you enjoy midlife and beyond. Be consistent and focused. I challenge you to start doing push-ups. Do your max today, record it on a spreadsheet, and do them again tomorrow and the next day and the next, etc. Next week, add two and keep going. The results will motivate you, inspiring you to take more control over your life.
Wrapping it up
The middle-aged man’s push-up challenge is a powerful reminder that we can shape our aging process. By choosing healthier habits, staying active, and nurturing a proactive mindset, we can defy societal expectations and embrace a stronger, more fulfilling life as we grow older. Whether through physical fitness, improved nutrition, or a holistic approach to well-being, the journey toward aging stronger and healthier is within our reach. So, why not take that first step, start your own challenge, and pave the way for a vibrant and fulfilling future? Your body and mind will thank you for it.
I have a prayer for you.
I pray you’ll continue living a godly life and grow stronger and stronger in every part of your life.
Tell me when you hit 10,000 push-ups.
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