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Move It or Lose It

When sober, you can touch your nose.  Can you touch your toes?  How flexible are you?

A dear friend, in her seventies, apologetically told my son Mark, "The older you get, the louder it is to get up out of a chair." 

At the time my third child was born, I realized that I could never bear another child for physical, emotional and financial reasons.  When she was finished nursing, I began a regimen of exercise, working up to it gradually to get into as good physical condition as before I had children. I thought of it as preparing for the next stage of my life.  Except for a pad of tummy fat that refused to ever leave, I accomplished that goal.

I didn't need to exercise for the next thirty years as I was far too physically active to require it at all. 

A couple of years ago after turning sixty, I realized I had to repeat the effort, as I've become far too sedentary.  Have I done so?  No.  Too many distractions intervened, tragedies in friends' lives, added responsibilities, too many other things demanding my attention, you name it.  Plus plain old procrastination (I have to be honest).  See Ten Commandments for Avoiding Exercise - you'll get the idea.

We have added a very fast, one to one-and-a-half mile walk about three times a week in the past couple of years, and my husband has started regularly using a stepper and doing some stretching and balancing. We've been doing more yard work.  I have been in the process of deciding on an exercise method for the past two or three months, and yes, I will do it.  Eventually.  Soon.  Again, I'll be preparing for the next stage of life. 

Whether children and teens building muscle and bones to last a lifetime,  women doing special exercises during pregnancy (yes, I did, and had easy labors),  getting into shape afterwards, working through the stress of middle age or preparing to stave off the weakness and instability that comes with old age, we all have to move it or lose it.   

SafetyAlerts had an article, "Dig In and Bone Up". The author, Liz Lynch, concluded that lifting, bending and hoeing have surprising benefits for women, more so than walking, aerobics, dancing, swimming or most other activities. Why this is so isn't clear, but it's worth doing.

Activity - preferably starting while you're young, but it's never too late - can also prevent, delay, or help you cope with illnesses, diseases, and disabilities as you age. 

Exercise and vigorous physical activity at any age aids us in controlling our weight, increases the health of our heart and circulatory system, helps avoid gall bladder disease,  osteoporosis and constipation, assists in retaining lung capacity, keeps our immune system functioning more efficiently, and even helps avoid depression, anxiety and senility!  It also makes you look better without having to undergo plastic surgery.  Where else can you get all that at one time with hardly any undesirable side effects?   

In addition, when we are physically active, we have an increased enjoyment of our meals, digest them better and can eat more of our favorite foods.  See Is Exercise a Part of Your Diet?   

So!  Is it getting more difficult to touch your toes?  As people age, lost flexibility is one of the first signs that their bodies are changing.  But with regular exercise and stretching, it's possible to stay lithe and supple, and your body will thank you for it. 

Now I have to take my own advice, and soon!

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