CrossFit South Rockland

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

How To Reverse The Aging Process

Some thing I found online... Enjoy, Ray...

“Everything slows down with age, except the time it takes cake and ice cream to reach your hips.” John Wagner
Recently, my husband and I were on a ski trip.
As we sat down at lunch, we started chatting with an older man sitting next to us. He had white hair, and was lean and healthy looking. I guessed he was about 70.
My husband, the psychologist, is masterful at getting people to feel comfortable opening up. And they got to talking. The fellow described how he liked to ski every weekend during the ski season.
Oh, and he mentioned he was 90!
We were stunned.
He went on to describe how he normally rides his bike for exercise, at least 20 miles a day, several times a week the rest of the year.  Plus he did other, regular active exercise, too.
This man was truly amazing! What a role model.
When we look at those who are really up there in years and see the few who are alert, look fabulous and enjoy good health, there is a common theme: exercise. Whether exercise is mild, moderate or intense, it’s something they all do.
I learned years ago, working as a nurse, that there can be an enormous difference in two people who are the same age.  The ones who look better,
have fewer problems and enjoy life most are almost always the ones who use their bodies the most.
Seeing this, I joined a gym in my early 20’s, and I’ve been at it ever since.  I walk or jog with my husband every morning. We talk as we go, sharing ideas, worries, and joys. It keeps our bodies strong and our relationship strong too.
I’ve tried a lot of different kinds of activities from cross-fit (crazy, Marines-style stuff), to boxing training (yes, in the ring, boxing gloves, trainer and all), to water skiing, swimming, aerobics classes, and weight training.
Part of this is to stay fit and be able to zip up those same jeans year to year.  Part of it is fear:  I don’t want to lose my ability to do what I
feel like doing physically.  The idea of “use it or lose it” resonates well with me.
Here’s the important thing:  we can all do something.
In her last years, when my Mom went to live in assisted living, she conducted “sittercise” classes using an audio tape to play the recorded program.
People in wheelchairs, walkers and with canes moved their arms and swayed to the music with her.  They loved her for it and it gave her a wonderful feeling of pride. Our aging parents need exercise, too.

If the older folks in those chairs and walkers can move around for exercise, you can too.
We need to get out off our behinds and move! This is how we reverse the aging process.  And this is what will give you the energy you need to power through your role of caring for your aging parent.
How can we stay calm under stress?  How can we keep going when it gets rough?  Strengthening our bodies is one of the best answers.  We need all the energy we can get to deal with the physical and emotional toll caregiving can take.
No matter who you are or whether or not you’ve exercised before, you can still do something to get going.
Here are my 5 favorite “exercise excuse busters” which you can use to help you get moving now:
  1. If possible, do your exercise early in the day, before life gets in the way and you have 50 reasons why you can’t.
  2. Do not check your email, look at your phone, talk to anyone or turn on the TV before you get to your exercise in the morning.  Just go.
  3. Find a partner, a class or a group to join if motivation is a problem.  Committing to someone or a class gives you a fixed time to exercise and you put it on your calendar.
  4. Make your exercise appointment a recurring item on your calendar, no end date.  Don’t set meetings, other matters or dates that conflict with it.  You’re more likely to actually do it that way.
  5. Lay out your exercise gear the night before. Put it where you’ll just about trip on it.  Whether it’s only your walking shoes, or a full outfit for biking, swimming or whatever, have it ready to go first thing, as a physical reminder: this is what you told yourself you’d do.  Now do it.
Caring for aging parents can take so much out of us. If we’re going to do a good job of it, we need to stay healthy ourselves.
I want to be like the 90 year old skier. I just joined a new gym with a pool and am off to my first exercise class right now!  I’ll give you my spin on spinning class, something I’ve never tried before.
Until next time…

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