Join the Crowd
If say you don’t like to exercise or you don’t have time, you are probably in very good company. As we get older many people have health conditions that seem overwhelming or lack motivation that prevents them from exercising. We constantly hear that if exercise is not hard it isn’t helping us. The TV and internet are full of sweaty, grimacing people doing their workouts and they don’t make it look very inviting or if they do we don’t believe it.
I’m here to tell you why I exercise and why it can be EASY. I have a personal training background and I probably exercise a great deal more than the average seventy year old woman. It is a passion of mine and I really love exercising for many reason. I’ve been doing it a long time and it is part of my life. I want to share my reasons with you and maybe they will help motivate you to start moving your way toward feeling better. After all, that is the reason we do it, right? We want to feel as good as we can and, if it brings along looking better, well that’s OK too!
Where is Your Happy Place?
I am an outdoor person. My happy place is always outside no matter the weather or the activity. I’m a lifelong runner and ran the Houston Chevron Marathon at 63 years of age. Running has cost me injuries along the way consisting of a couple of knee surgeries and pretty severe back issues, some congenital, others degenerative that have come with aging. I have cut back distances, wear a back brace, and manage discomfort with analgesics and anti-inflammatories because I love the activity and don’t want to give it up. And, I know the upside is that the health benefits outweigh the pain management. By the time we are into our sixties most of us are contending with some type of health issue. I really believe that no matter what physical limitations you have there is always an activity that you can manage that would be beneficial to your health and well being. You don’t have to be a runner to improve your cardio-vascular health. Any activity that elevates your heart rate will do.
Dumbbells You Lift, Not Endure
I do strength training workouts two times a week because I want to enjoy the rest of my life by being able to lift and carry my future grandchildren, as well as play golf, dance, sing, swim, walk the dogs, hike, ride a bike. All the things I love to do and want to do for as long as I can. I am sure you have activities you love and want to continue doing, even if it’s getting out of a chair without the assistance of a crane! Experts agree that everyone, and especially older adults, need strength training two times a week. Yes, this means lifting more than a fork or a glass! If you cannot manage this on your own there are many personal trainers who would love to help you reclaim your health and lifestyle. Hire one that will work to design a program you enjoy and can afford.
The EASY Part
I’ve come up with the acronym EASY to describe how exercise will make you feel.
The E stands for EMPOWERED.
You will feel empowered when you exercise. You will not feel like an aging old woman with injuries or health concerns. You will feel like a healthy woman who is taking care of herself. You will feel like you can do anything you want to do . Nothing is more empowering than knowing that you alone are taking good care of yourself and can continue doing anything you want to do. No more telling your friends or family you can’t participate because you can’t walk that far or can’t keep the grandkids because you can’t pick them up.
A stands for APPRECIATION.
You will feel appreciation for what your body does for you all day long, every day. It keeps your heart beating, your lungs breathing, your brain thinking, your tummy digesting, and your liver detoxing. By exercising you are helping it do these things better. You are compelled to take care of your body. It is where you live. You want to keep maintaining your house, your temple.
S stands for STRONG.
You will feel strong when you exercise. You feel strong all day long and every day. You stand straight and tall knowing you are taking care of your bones and muscles and knowing they will take care of you so that you can do the things you want to do. You can carry those groceries effortlessly, lift your suitcase into the car, plant those flowers on the patio, take the dog for a long walk. You are strong enough to do whatever you want to do.
Y stands for YOUNGER.
You feel younger after you workout. You are part of a community of caregivers who take care of themselves FIRST; think Millenials. You feel ageless because your good health allows you to participate in any activity you desire. You are not falling apart or getting old, unable to participate in the fun others are having. You are reverse aging and feeling younger every year. It is possible!
So, it’s EASY to exercise.
You don’t have to be a runner or love the outdoors like I do. You alone can choose what form of exercise appeals to you. I have trained people in wheelchairs, a person who had no use of her hands, a stroke victim who could not speak, and numerous others with special needs that limited what they could do. But guess what? All of them could do something and did! And they were better for it. I believe that you can too. Everyone deserves feeling good and the good news is, it is in your own hands.
What Activity Interests You?
Decide what activity looks like fun. It needs to be something that will get your heart rate up so that your circulation increases and stresses your body a bit more than it is used to. Try to do this at least 5 times a week. You tear down to grow stronger. Work it, then rest it. Start easy. Each time it gets easier. You have to ask your body to do more than it customarily does so that it can do more each day, each week, each month. That’s how you reverse age and get younger every year.
Seventy percent of premature death is lifestyle related. Lifestyle is, in large part, what we eat and how much we exercise. According to Dr. Henry Lodge, MD, in his book “Younger Next Year” 70% of the normal decay associated with aging — the weakness, the sore joints, the lousy balance, the feeling crappy — can be forestalled almost until the end.
It’s up to you and it’s EASY, but you must exercise. So for it! Good luck and let me know how it goes.