Climbing Into Old Age

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isa. 40:31, NIV.

Hulda Crooks first climbed 14,495-foot Mount Whitney, North America's highest mountain, in 1962 at age 66 and continued to climb it nearly every year after that until she was 91.

Also when she was 91 years old she climbed Japan's 12,388-foot Mount Fuji, reaching the summit on July 24, 1987, the oldest woman ever to do so. Six weeks later she again climbed Mount Whitney. Incredible as it may seem, between 81 and 90 years of age she climbed 97 peaks. When someone challenged her to climb the steps leading to the top of the Capitol Dome in Washington, D.C. (steps are sometimes more difficult than a mountain trail), Hulda Crooks accepted the challenge—and won. When she was 94 her doctor told her she had the heart and lungs of an 18-year-old.

She lives by the philosophy that "muscles, not used, atrophy. Bones, not put under stress, lose minerals and become weak. Joints, not moved sufficiently as in walking, working, or other forms of exercise, become stiff from disuse. The blunt facts are that your body needs intelligent care."

Hulda has proved that a lifestyle change can take place at any age. She describes herself in her teen years as being nervous, anemic, and perpetually tired. At age 31, when she was overweight and not physically well, her physician-husband encouraged her to become more physically active. She followed his advice, and it changed her life. Since then she has said that we can't separate diet and exercise. "The diet provides the materials for the body's functions. The exercise is absolutely essential in keeping up a good circulation. If we don't exercise, the circulation is sluggish, and that affects the entire body, the mental as well as the rest of the body."

Hulda's life is an inspiration to all, regardless of age, to get up and get going!

What lifestyle change do I need to make to be able to "run and not grow weary," or "walk and not be faint"?

Used by permission of Health Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.

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