An Object In Motion

Is there any one out there that thinks it’s weird that you have to go to a gym to be healthy? How is it that I have an almost 93-year-old father who never set foot inside a modern-day gym? Sure he played basketball in high school, and he probably played some in the college gymnasiums. But going “to the gym” to work out?! No way. And yet he is still here and has opted to take only one prescription medication. The thing I remember about my mother, who was active until her death at age 84, is that we were always asking her to sit down. My memories of our visits were that she was always running here and there doing the laundry, grabbing a book to share, pulling food out of the freezer for supper, or any number of other activities necessary for running a comfortable home.

When I recall my early years, I never had to worry about weight, feeling strong, or staying healthy. I attribute that in a large part to the activities I was involved in and the diet that I was accustomed to. And when I say diet, I’m talking about the way that I was used to eating. Growing up we would have cereal or toast for breakfast, soup or a sandwich for lunch and a variety of meat and vegetable for supper. We occasionally would have a snack of homemade cookies, or a piece of fruit. For the most part, soda was not a part of our normal diet. There were the odd occasions when we would get Elf brand sodas at the Warehouse Market in town. But soda was always a treat for us. Dad would make the world’s best chocolate malts, usually when the cousins were visiting. This took place usually once a year back then. And I kept busy with riding my bike everywhere, playing tennis in my teen years, and spending time playing games in with all the kids in the neighborhood.

When I left home for college, life began to change. My diet started to experience changes that were subtle at first. And my activity level changed considerably with all the reading and studying that was required. No wonder they talk about the “freshman fifteen”. If it had only stopped there…

But as life went on, I began to understand the importance of staying active. Not only does activity help your body to burn calories, it helps to keep your joints flexible, it boosts your mental attitude, and it keeps you young at heart. Activity is going to look different for each of us. We are all unique and one size certainly does not fit all. Certain sports lend themselves to remaining active over a lifetime such as golf or tennis. Others, like football or gymnastic may require some modifications as you get older. Or maybe not. Like I mentioned earlier, everyone is unique.

But the one thing that remains the same for everyone is the importance of some type of activity to keep you healthy. And you are the only one that can decide which activity or activities will work best for you and your lifestyle.

One activity that can change with us as we age would be walking! Just step out your door and away you go. Other activities could be yoga, rebounding, cross country skiing, Nordic walking, weight training, swimming, Tai Chi and so many more. If you are having trouble coming up with a plan that works for you feel free to reach out to me and we can work together to come up with a plan that fits your lifestyle.

As I mentioned earlier, remaining active as you go through life helps to keep you healthy. Below I have listed ways in which your health can be improved through activity:

  • You can build and maintain strong muscles
  • Activity helps to stimulate your brain function and memory
  • Boost your immune system
  • Helps with improving your blood test – especially glucose and triglycerides
  • Protection against heart disease and lowers blood pressure
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Improves your sleep patterns
  • Improves your mental attitude – less depression and/or anxiety
  • Helps to keep joints pain free and flexible
  • Helps with balance
  • Protects against many chronic diseases (diabetes/heart disease/cancer/autoimmune/etc.
  • Reduces your stress

So, you can see how activity plays a role in your overall well-being. It doesn’t mean that you must get a gym membership, but it does mean you have to get up from the couch. And I would even suggest getting away from the electronics as well. Go for a walk and see what you can see and listen to what you can hear. Reconnect with your world. And then feel your health improve with every passing day. Have fun with it!

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