I don't think of it as "staying in shape" but just another part of life...a part which I deem as important as the parts which allow me to stay healthy (by my value scale) and which I naturally gravitate to.
As a child, exercise was a normal part of life for me, being born in 1947 and growing up in the 50s. For children of that era, "play" meant activities such as baseball, basketball, impromptu "races" and running, parks and the use of the athletic fields provided. Being on sports teams was normal but much of the time spent on sports...had nothing to do with the teams. It seems that children expected themselves to naturally be active, expending all the energ of childhood in various forms of semi-constant physical exercise.
From about 9 years of age until 35 or so...basketball was my favorite physical activity...not because I thought it was good for me, but because I was a fanatic about every aspect...playing, collecting flip cards, monitoring the stats of all players who I deemed noteworthy, be they high school, college, or professional status.
Around 33 or 34, I realized that I was no longer quick enough to play basketball at my personal standard...those younger players seemed a lot quicker than they had been and I did not think this a good trend for a basketball fanatic like me. So I began to run to the gyms or schoolyards to play, rather than get rides to such. I did this to fill up the "activity gap" which was developing as my participation in basketball decreased.
In a couple of years...I no longer thought of myself as a basketball "player" but as a "runner." I was 37 then and pleasantly surprised that I had come to love running almost as much as I loved playing basketball. No special facilities were needed...no need to find others to play with/against, no special equipment, weather was a minor factor, I could do it at any time of the day for as long or as little as I wanted...it was perfect for me.
I am not capable of the speeds nor the distances that I had become used to...that's only natural . But I never began running seeking such. For me, it was just a natural progression for my desire for physical activity. The fact that this activity also helps mitigate the risks of heart attack and stroke...is a side benefit which I appreciate more since I passed the age of 60...but the fun of it remains the reason that I now plan on running 2-3 times a week, at a VERY slow jog, with a minimum distance of 3.5 miles each time. Why 3.5 miles? It feels right for me. I don't set a maximum and I don't jog the same distance or same route each time...I like deciding those things once I decide to get going .
My personal physician tells me that I can probably expect to live until 90 or so, with my diagnosed Type 2 diabetes presenting no problems at all for me.
Just trying to keep on...keeping on .