Getting High Without Compromise

I have been told more times than not, “It’s so great that you exercise.”

And my answer has always been, “I couldn’t imagine not exercising; it is like a drug I need on a daily basis. It’s how I start my day; it grounds me.”

I’ve been getting “high” on exercise since I was a teenager, and when I get it, I feel balanced. My body and my mind demand this drug. Without it I am sleepy, cranky, jumpy, and impatient. If I don’t get my “fix,” I find it hard to listen, to sit, and to write. So that’s why I do it. I am proud to be a Boomer exercising junkie!

Perhaps in a former life, I lived in early B.C. Greece, surrounded by the athletes and training alongside them. I feel like I am with my people when I’m watching the Olympics. When the swimmers are racing, I like to imagine myself swimming in the next lane, racing back and forth, flip turning, heart pounding, speeding against the clock. When I watch girls’ gymnastics, I feel a dizzying shot of adrenaline race through me as they spring from jump to flip, and sometimes I even start levitating from the couch as they bounce across the mats, flying wingless from end to end.

I love watching the pros. They are in a class of their own, and despite their youth and exquisite bodies, they motivate me nonetheless. However, I have no delusions about being them. As I said, my love of sports is driven by my own survival instincts. The serotonin high I get from keeping my heart elevated for an hour or so, either from running or competing in an intense tennis match makes me feel, dare I say, Olympic.

So in this post-50 stage of life, I am clear that there will be no compromising. I find myself powering through pain in order to maintain the daily workouts. While my body may be screaming, my mind is keeping me going.

I have taken to talking to my uncooperative body parts. I am in a deep and intimate relationship with my big toe on my right foot. I talk to it on a regular basis, and pull it après workouts to unjam it. I often beg my sweet husband to give it a yank as well. I run a tennis ball under my foot when possible, because the pain is excruciating. It has even given me fashion constraints– when I try to fit this toe in the coolest of shoes, it simply won’t comply. But I won’t be defeated! I even have a special song I run to which helps me rise above the temporal pain. Peter Gabriel’s “Don’t Give Up” brings me beyond myself as I sing the refrain in my loudest voice.

This throbbing member is not part of someone’s Penthouse Magazine fantasy story, it is my time bomb that I try to disarm at the end of each day. I know I may lose this battle with my toe, but I’m good for the fight. I plot my exercise strategy, and I’ve given up the high heels for the flats – just don’t ask me to give up my exercise. I have made my own form of peace.




Felice Shapiro

Felice Shapiro loves figuring out what's next. As a serial entrepreneur in the publishing space, she launched BA50 to meet the needs of women entering their next phase. So -- What’s Next after empty nesting? Inspired and armed with her love of publishing, start-ups and women’s issues, Shapiro set out to establish an online magazine for 50-something women to share personal stories, successes and relevant issues. In November 2011, Shapiro launched (BA50). Shapiro has published work from hundreds of writers, more than 2500 articles, on topics of health, sex, start-ups, dating, adult children aging parents, finance and more. This online platform has an exploding readership doubling on itself almost every month. As a woman who practices what she teaches, Felice is thrilled to have created the ultimate go-to site for mid-life women. Felice Blog appears every week on 

  3 comments for “Getting High Without Compromise

  1. Linda
    August 7, 2012 at 11:53 am

    Great post. Making peace is not all about acceptance. Sometimes it is about fighting with it. Pushing ourselves to make our bodies do what they don’t want to do, and look they way they don’t want to look is my “war and peace.” thanks for sharing Felice!

  2. Jan
    August 7, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    The dr. says it’s time to take care of what stands between you and your “high”.

    • Virginia Wilson
      September 25, 2013 at 8:24 am

      Amazing my daughter & myself are baby boomers! She sent this article to me.

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