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At Any Age

I'm getting ready to leave sunny Florida. Since my father moved down here and a sister, too, it seemed like a good idea to skip a snowy winter this year. I'm not ready to settle into just one place, yet, however I am looking for a couple of locations where I might actually have a place where I can hang my hat. It's interesting that one thing I miss more than anything because I don't have my own home is the ability to invite people to "come visit and stay with me while you're in the area". I used to think I'd like to have a Bed and Breakfast and that's still got some appeal. First, I need to figure out where I'll be, however.

So, back to Florida ... I've enjoyed my trip and I'm looking forward to heading north again. While here, though, I got to really observe many attitudes toward the aging process. There are a lot of retirement communities and assisted living facilities. It astounds and saddens me that so many people use walkers, motorized grocery carts, and canes and there is no shortage of people talking about their decline with age. I learned from some Real Estate agents that "ground floor" condo units are coveted because no one wants to climb stairs. Then, I discovered the Civic Center!

I'm old enough to have a "Silver Sneakers" card. This is for people over 65, on Medicare. I was so excited when I received it because it means I can go to almost any gym across the country to work out and I don't pay a fee! I registered at the Civic Center because I liked the sound of the classes they offered plus they have a beautifully equipped gym.

I was really eager to work out and on my way in, the very first day, I met up with the instructor who was going to teach the first class of the day. She was delightful and I had a good feeling about it. When I arrived at the class, I got even more fired up. I walked into a room with at least thirty other "seniors" (one day we had over 60 participants in a particular class!) and I nearly swooned. Everyone was wonderfully fit or heading in that direction and ready to rock and roll. No walking aids here!.

Science is helping people live longer than ever before, yet I've heard countless people be truly miserable, sometimes for a decade or more, before they die. For many, it's their decrease in or lack of mobility that is most distressing.

"We begin to age the moment we are conceived,

as soon as we're born.

Why should it suddenly become a thing, a problem,

at age 50 (or so)?" - BLC

When we're babies we learn how to roll over. The first time is often by chance and then, we learn how to do it deliberately. As toddlers, we get up and start walking ... and fall down a lot. What if we decided rolling over or walking was too difficult, too scary, and took too much effort? As we get older, things change, but as I often say, "If I can do it today, I'll do it tomorrow, too". Somewhere along the way people are giving up. They expect to age and so they do. What if we expected to be able to keep walking, getting up from our chairs, bending down, climbing stairs and keeping our balance?!? There is a whole industry out there that is "telling" us that we need chair lifts, walkers, canes, and higher toilet seats. Maybe we need to pay more attention to keeping our core strong and our muscles fit and flexible.

How can we do this? Remember I wrote about showing up for a fitness class? Not only did I get myself there, but I introduced myself to a group of people and we looked for each other every morning. Getting out and walking, either alone or with some friends is another great habit to get into, but it's not enough, all by itself. At any age, we need to both stretch and strengthen the whole body.

One of the things I especially loved was that the instructors were all familiar with many of the "senior" issues. They never told us not to do something, but showed us how to modify it, if necessary. Getting us "off the hook" would not be in our best interest. Some people even came to class with a "boot" or brace on an injured area. Just because one part of the body was out of commission, it didn't mean the whole body had to go to hell in a hand basket. If our balance is being challenged by an impairment or some bodily trauma, it would certainly help to get the core in better shape. If you've had surgery and your doctor has given you the green light to work out, find out what muscles you need to build up to support the area of trauma. It might take some research to get just the right therapist, but I promise they are out there!

I'm not saying we all have to aspire to run a marathon (Although, most people who are retired have the time to train, right? LOL). I encourage us all to keep moving, nourishing ourselves in all ways, and enjoying living right up to the end. This is what I wish for you.

Sparkles and Love,

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About the Author




Barbara L Cummings, MS, RN

is a sassy Queen-ager whose mission is to co-create a happier, healthier life with and for others.

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