Making The Good Life

It's not what you have, but how you live.

Archive for the category “Fitness”

Back to the Beginning, Again

Hmm. Let’s see if I can actually get this thing off the ground now. Maybe show up once a week at least, maybe more. How about I start with something easy, like movement?

I don’t move enough. I used to, and it’s not for lack of desire, but because my hip hurts. All. The. Time. It’s been hurting for over a year. I’ve been to an orthopedist, physical therapy, massage therapy, I’ve tried stretching and some strengthening, but it still hurts. Sitting hurts, walking hurts, standing and even just running errands hurts. I can’t walk a mile without limping. The docs tell me I have bursitis, but I think we’re all barking up the wrong tree so on Thursday I plan to have some imaging done. I mean really, bursitis just means that my hip bursa is inflamed – but why?? That’s what I want to know. I want to work on the root cause, not just the symptom. (I think it’s tendinitis, from the reading I’ve done.) If I ever get it healed and working properly again, I want to be like this man.

Stephen Jepson

Stephen Jepson, in his playground

Mr. Jepson is amazing. Not that what he does is out of reach for the rest of us (it isn’t), but because he’s living proof that movement keeps you moving. He is certainly serving as an inspiration for me once I can get moving again. Until then, I can stand on wobbly things, play with balls, pick up things with my feet and work on my hand-eye coordination. If you go to his website, Never Leave the Playground, you can learn more about him, and watch videos of him explaining his philosophy of playing for better health and quality of life.

From his website: “Every cell in the body is affected by movement. The brain improves as we use our muscles, which, in turn, grow with use.Scientific studies show that physical movement is the single most important thing to do to be physically healthier and smarter, regardless of age. Movement training can prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia. Neural pathways open and increase throughout our lives as we learn new activities.”

I’m worried about this – things won’t get easier as I get older. I’m too young to have a major joint that isn’t functioning, and which IS contributing to an increasingly sedentary lifestyle. I want to get started trying to preserve and improve on what I’ve still got. Here’s to planning my backyard playground!

Conflicted

A lot of people are, you know. Conflicted. About lots of things but in particular I’m talking about the big 5-0 lurking around the corner. You see, part of me wants to walk right up to 50 and stick out my tongue, say “I’m not afraid of you!” or something like that, and sail gracefully and serenely into my 50s with the absolute conviction that these will be the best years of my life. But the other part is a little bit…uncertain.

It’s a pretty big milestone in most peoples’ lives. As I approach 50, I still have teenagers at home – one full-time and one part-time, since he’s in college. I’m helping my father who is dealing with serious illness. My mom has had one ailment after another, from breast cancer to a bad hip to cataract surgery, weight problems, high blood pressure… (They’re divorced. She’s on her third husband.)

I have a fear of declining physically. When my mom was in her early 60s – not that much older than I am – she really couldn’t get off the floor or out of a low chair without help or something to pull herself up with. She wasn’t able to really enjoy playing with her grandchildren when they were small because of it. I may not have grandchildren, well…ever, but if I do it won’t be for a long time. I want to be able to enjoy them the way I did my own kids!

"Mature" runners

These are the things that inspire me to try to take the best possible care of my body. Eat well, be fit, get all of my screenings (I’m a little bit behind on those) and keep my stress levels down. Not sure how much that helps really, but it makes daily life more pleasant, and that’s really all we have anyway. I realize that I can’t stop time,

but I feel like maybe I can slow down what lately seems

to be inevitable decline. While much of that has recently been attributed to poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle, attitude and perception play a part as well. This article in theNew York Times covers a lot of ground on the impact of both activity and attitude on aging.

Then there’s vanity. Yep, I am going to admit to that part too. I won’t pretend that it’s all about great health and serene acceptance. I’ve tried to downplay the part that vanity plays in all of this but recently decided that rather than feel guilty about it, I’m going to embrace it. It is, after all, a motivator! I want to keep my figure. I want to look nice, wear my hair long, and look at least a little bit like I feel inside for as long as I can.

So, health, fitness, beauty (or at least an effort at it) and a positive attitude. It’s not much – I can handle that! Come to think of it, I’d better wind this up – it’s time to go to the gym. I’m working out with my 15 year old tonight!

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