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Friday, March 18, 2011

Therein Lies the Rub

The problem with exercise is that you have to keep doing it. Now I’m a gal who likes to cross things off my To-Do list and be done with them.
1. Write the article due today – Check!
2. Take the roast out to thaw – Check!
3. Call my mother – Check!
4. Exercise – Check!
While the other things on the list aren’t done every day, exercise pretty much has to, because at our age, if we don’t use it, we really DO lose it. So every day’s To-Do list should have some form of exercise on it. Unfortunately, I’m a health writer and I’m always interviewing health professionals who keep giving me this nagging message.

Not only do we have to exercise almost every day, but we have to do it differently. A brisk walk is always good, but it doesn’t do much for our flexibility, and forget about our upper body bone mass. That takes resistance training, like weights and things. Our bones like nearby muscles contracting to keep their density. You can’t blame them. Who doesn’t like a good massage?

Flexibility requires gentle and consistent stretching. Otherwise we can forget about bending over to pick up our reading glasses. I’m not saying you should aspire to doing the splits. Stretching is so unglamorous and takes valuable time away from doing crossword puzzles. But it can save us many a sore muscle. A body at rest tends to stay at rest, yadda, yadda.

My above-mentioned health professionals have some suggestions for us and I said I would pass them along:
• Mix it up. Doesn’t matter what our age is, if we always do the same thing, we get bored.
• Walk most days of the week.
• Drag a friend to an exercise class: zumba or spinning or something easy to follow, so we can’t gracefully bow out.
• Take yoga: it’s great for flexibility, soothing monkey brain, and just relaxing. I gotta tell ya, I still hate Down Dog and I can’t get my heels on the ground to save my life, but it does feel great to have done it.
• Treat yourself to at least one personal training session to help you work out a plan with what you have at home or at your health club so you don’t end up hurting yourself and have to take a few weeks off. And a personal trainer is a great conscience.
Well, if we gotta, we gotta, so let’s keep moving and have fun doing it. No one says we can’t combine exercise with a little retail therapy or a fabulous latte.