Getting Physical: Move!
We have never been exercise fanatics but we have always been in motion. When we worked, we couldn’t sit still for long. We walked to court, ran to meetings and through airports, and clambered up and down stairs. Now, we could sit around if we wanted to. But we don't want to. Even without the threat of our bodies turning into Jello, we need to keep moving.
There are a gazillion articles and books about what older people should do to keep mentally alert and physically healthy. And many lay experts. The mother of a mutual friend told us the amount of exercise one must do doubles with each decade. Another friend wrote a book saying that you absolutely had to work out for an hour a day every day or you would keel over and die long before your time. Still others tout yoga and pilates as the key to longevity. There is so much advice out there, it could make you crazy.
We don’t want to go crazy. But we are committed to continuing to move. When we have the time, walking is our preferred mode of transportation. Sometimes slowly, window shopping and looking up along the way. Sometimes faster. Either way, walking is a crucial part of our routine. Erica wears a Fitbit to make sure she does her 10,000 steps a day. Karen measures the obligation in blocks. However measured, walking gets the blood circulating, the brain engaged and the muscles unlocked.
Karen also works out an hour a day, many days, first thing in the morning, on the treadmill and doing weights (real weightlifters would laugh, as her heaviest is 10 pounds). Her workout started as physical therapy after one particularly disastrous fall, at age 28. Walking fast and slipping on, yes, a banana peel. Her workout is not all that intense, so she can watch the news--CNN, Morning Joe and Fox Business. One or another of them usually gets her blood pumping too, intensifying the workout. Erica frequents the gym infrequently. Instead, her exercise takes more and different, more practical, forms. Instead of weights, for example, she moves furniture.
For us, physical movement is a critical component of our continued engagement with the world. We don’t want to stand still, or sit in one place. We want to keep moving forward--preferably at a pretty high speed. We have more fun that way.