Robert's personal fitness advice
See photo below

How do I stay in shape for riding across America?  I don't drive.  Not relying on a car could be the best fitness program around.  Integrating healthy life into everyday life.

I was not into sports, in high school, so I missed the sports injuries also. 

Now in my early 50s, I can still do things like jogging with no knee pain.  It feels good.  My jogging is fairly soft, not the jarring kind. 

Instead of being into sports, I walk and bicycle all over the place.  Just go at my own pace. 

Driver's Ed is another high school thing I never did.  Not driving a car has kept a steady flow of moderate exercise in my life. 

Continued below photo.


Disposable stadiums.  Built in the 1970s, torn down in 2000 to make way for new stadiums.  Seattle's King Dome a waste of money?  Photo taken toward start of my 1991 bicycle trip across USA.

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Competitive sports can be a detriment to life long fitness.  Young sports stars push themselves to the max. in an environment where a few seconds can mean the difference between winning or loosing.  Later in life, after the body has slowed down a bit with age, motivation vanishes.  When winning is no longer a viable objective, people often become couch potatoes. 

The body does slow down SLIGHTLY with age, but slightly is an important word.  One can still bike, run, walk and play with nearly the same vigor of years past, only minus a few seconds.  If one measures the value of activity on winning, those crucial last seconds overshadow the entire activity. 

It is good to toss out the clock and forget about winning or breaking your record.  So what if one is now 15 seconds slower.  The most important thing is to just keep doing it.  Life long recreation creates a better attitude for long term fitness than competitive sports. 

The money spent on stadiums would be better spent on bicycle paths that are used by an entire public.  Ever notice how many people watch pro football versus the number of people who actually play it?   There is a handful of players and millions of couch potatoes watching on TV. 

My anti sports attitude also carries over into weight rooms at the gym.  Ever notice the equipment where you can chart every pulse of your body?  If you scrutinize yourself too closely, watch out. 

Measuring ones self by seconds can reveal the body's gradual slide into oblivion, as years go by.  Age does slow the body, but for most of our adult lives the decline can be hardly perceptible. . . hardly perceptible unless one is measuring ones self too closely.  That's the big problem with some of this "computer readout" weight room equipment. 

It can be inspiring to chart ones progress while getting into shape, but not so good for maintaining lifelong fitness. 

Not owning a car could be the best fitness program.

Reader comment

I am recouping from a spur of the moment cycleing adventure. Too much competition attitude from HS track sports! To try and bike to my girlfriends in Magdalena New Mexico from Carlsbad, NM.. trip is aprox. 240 miles one way over 2 mountain ranges. Decided just now  to check online about bikeing.

So glad you have a site to point out my shortfalls! Two days 175+ mile rountrip solo bike ride up to Roswell,NM and back revealed I desperately needed advice such as I found here. 

I really recommend your approach to all who want to build and enjoy stamina and health gradually plus being non polluting. 

Hope you are well and feeling happy.

Thanks again for advice. Cliff