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New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 25th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

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Can I do it?

21 December 2021

I can't believe I got sucked into taking part in an internet challenge.

No, I wasn't trying to beat someone at wolfing down pies or balancing knives on my forehead but it was a challenge of the type that social media is infamous for.

As regular readers probably know, I try to keep myself in "reasonable" physical condition since it has done wonders for my quality of life and coping with the neurological issues that sometimes make things difficult.

I lost weight, I sometimes pick up a set of dumbells in the corner and move them to the other side of the room and that's pretty much it. You can be sure that I'm not one of those people who spend hours at the gym every day toning my body to perfection.

I'm an "near enough" kind of guy.

So it was with some trepidation that I decided to have a go at this challenge because it was something that involved demonstrating one's physical abilities in the form of strength and endurance.

The person responsible for kicking off this challenge was Dave Jones, an electronics engineer and YouTuber from Australia.

In a livestream last weekend, he was asked by someone to do 10 push-ups.

He decided to do a set of hand-clap-push-ups. These are much harder because they involve powering yourself with enough force that you can clap your hands before you fall back to floor. Dave managed to smack out 15 of these push-ups although some have criticised his form a little.

After demonstrating his strength and power, he challenged other electronics YouTubers to better his total.

I should point out at this stage that Dave is a pretty fit kind of guy. He visits the gym regularly, does a bit of rock-climbing and keeps himself trim. He's also more than 20 years younger than me so I wasn't confident I could even get close but figured "I'd give it a go".

It's also worth noting that I haven't done a single hand-clap-push-up since I was a teenager, although I do regular push-ups from time to time.

Louis Rossmann also responded to the challenge and punched out a very impressive 19 repetitions of this difficult exercise -- although he is also a gym-bunny and once again, much younger than myself.

So how did I go?

Well I didn't beat Dave or Louis but I think my score of 14 was okay for a guy in his 69th year on the planet who doesn't see the inside of a gym from one day to another.

However, I love a *real* challenge. It is the challenges we face that define who we are as a person and establish our outlook on life.

I could have simply said "hey, 14 is good for an old guy" and left it at that but with a new year just around the corner I figured I'd push myself a little harder to see how good I can get at this.

With this in mind, I've set myself a goal of besting Louis Rossmann's 19 pushups by the end of January 2022.

To be honest, I have no idea whether I can achieve this and to be honest, it's probably a little overly ambitious but the hardest challenges are always the most rewarding if you conquer them so what the hell.

Six weeks is not long to get a 50 percent increase in performance, especially when you take into account that us old-blokes can't push ourselves too hard or we just break. Injury is a very real problem if you attempt to over-stress your body at this age so it's a fine balance between trying hard enough and trying too hard.

Then there's the effect of Christmas dinner and the week of left-overs that will doubtless add a few Kg to my frame.

Never the less, I'm looking forward to giving it a go and seeing how close I can get.

Place your bets in the forums ladies and gentlemen... can I do it?

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