Exercise is for life.
Engaging in any form of physical activity is far preferable to doing nothing at all. I've been very fortunate over the years in remaining relatively injury free & more than anything else have been particularly blessed by having good joints - especially the knees.
That's probably mostly attributable to nothing more than genetics, but I think that daily doses of glucosamine for the past few years have kept my cartilage relatively healthy, and the supplement also appears to have definitely improved the flexibility of my spine.
As a long time ultra runner, I was fortunate to have ten to fifteen wonderful years of competitive racing in the decade of the 80's and early 90's. Currently I'm happy just being able to have a daily fitness run with the dog up Vail mountain before breakfast. If a reader has an interest in keeping track of their walking or running mileage, I've attached an Excel file of the type of running log I've used for over 20 years. Users are welcome to download it and use it for this same purpose. Click here to save or open.
Since I still teach skiing in the winter months, like most of us in that business, I use a combination of strength and balance exercises to try to maintain a reasonably high level of fitness - particularly in the core muscles area. In the past I used to vary the workout routine based on the season of the year, but currently it seems to make more sense to do the same program on a daily basis all year around.
After giving up health clubs a few year's back, all my workout routine is done at home with very few mechanical aids. Basically I try to get this complete workout done prior to breakfast each morning.
Here's the current routine that I try to do seven days a week:
1. Half cup of coffee. Stretch calves and Achilles for a minute or two on each leg.
2. Put one foot on kitchen counter, straighten leg and hold the position for a count to 100. Do the same with the other leg. Then put the handle of a sport cord around one foot and continue the stretch for another count to 100 using each hand on the cord. Do on both legs. This seems to not only stretch the hamstrings but also the muscles of the lower back.
3. Stretch knee over straight leg to touch floor count to 100. Repeat on other side.
4. Foot to knee to floor stretch - count to 100. Repeat on other side.
5. Butterfly stretch to a count of 100 on the floor.
6. Pilate type crunches to a count of 100.
7. Repeat 5. above.
8. 100 bent knee stomach crunches.
9. Quadriceps and hip stretch. Lay on floor on back. Push hips in the air. Grasp ankles with hands and hold for a count of 100.
10. 100 left side oblique leg thrusts.
11. 100 elbows to opposite knees stomach crunches.
12. Quadriceps and hip stretch. Lay on floor on back. Push hips in the air. Grasp ankles with hands and hold for a count of 100.
13. 100 right side oblique leg thrusts.
14. Lie on stomach. Hands behind neck. Raise head and legs. Hold to 100.
15. 30 pushups. (Choose your own number.)
16. Love handle reducer. It works. Balance on one elbow and sides of both feet. Put other hand behind neck with elbow pointing to the ceiling. Twist body and touch elbow to the floor. Repeat twenty five (or more) times.
17. Balancing exercise on fireplace. Jump off, land on one foot and hold to a count of five. Jump back to fireplace and reverse legs. Repeat fifteen times each leg.
18. While standing on one leg, place the opposite foot on the slightly bent knee of the standing leg. Hold for a count of 100. Repeat using the other leg.
The above don't take a great deal of time - roughly 30-45 minutes at most. At the completion of these exercises/stretches, the dog and I will do our regular morning run up Vail mountain. Distances range from an average of 5-8 miles in the winter, extending to 7-15 miles on average in the summer. Longer runs happen in the summer roughly once each week.
The following was my program prior to 2002. It's very similar to the above.
Here's a description of the routine:
The above routine is not as time consuming as might appear on first examination. The whole series of exercises should require no more than 40-60 minutes to complete.
At the conclusion of the upper body strength work the dog & I head up the mountain for runs varying between 5-20 miles depending time constraints and weather/road surface conditions.
Then we come home and have breakfast.
The skiing balance development device I've been using is a high angle wobble board that seems to be very helpful in strengthening ankles and other lower leg muscles, tendons, etc. It's ideal to work out on when watching TV.