“You know you’re getting old when everything hurts. And what doesn’t hurt doesn’t work.” Those words of Hy Gardner, former columnist for the New York Herald Tribune could be prophetic for sedentary Boomers who choose to live an inactive lifestyle. But that doesn’t have to be your reality. If feeding your face and pushing buttons on the remote control is your only daily exercise, and you have more aches and pains than a quarterback abruptly sandwiched between two linebackers, then there may be a simple solution. Get off the couch and move. Word up from this Baby Boomer – exercising not only improves your quality of life, it can be fun.
Each morning, when I awake, I look forward to working out, because exercising has become an essential part of my life; in conjunction with reading fitness books and magazines.
I enjoy the challenge of pushing myself and I have the battle scars to prove it. Just 10 years ago, I enrolled in a cardio kick boxing class and completed it unscathed. Okay, I lied. I got one minor injury, but was soon over it. In no time at all I was able to tap my foot again while listening to R. Kelly sing Step in the Name of Love.
Long distance walking is one of my favorite activities. For over two decades, I participated in numerous walk-a-thons supporting various causes like Breast Cancer, Osteoporosis, and the annual Fannie Mae Help the Homeless Walk. A 5 to 10 mile walk was a piece of cake for me – minus the calories. That was before I was recently ambushed by a torn cartilage in my right knee requiring arthroscopic surgery. Bummer! That curtailed my long distance walking. But while recuperating from the surgery I continuing doing cardio using Lisa Erickson’s Seated Aerobic Workout video. Need I say that where there is a will there’s a way?
I’ve always preferred exercising at home, because it is convenient and I can choose the time I want to workout. That’s usually very early in the morning like 4 or 5 AM. Over the years I have invested in various pieces of fitness equipment, a stationary bike, a treadmill, free weights of different sizes, and plenty of workout DVDs. My DVD library contains instructions in everything from yoga and Pilates to Theraband and balance ball workouts. I especially enjoy practicing yoga, because stretching and flexibility is important for preventing injuries and maintaining range of motion. To avoid boredom, I vary my exercise routines. And when I really want to rev things up, I pull out my Wii Fit Plus.
When I want to exercise away from home, I workout at Curves. I truly enjoy the challenging 30 minutes of circuit training and it doesn’t bother me that after I am done I look like someone drenched me in a bucket of water. The Curves circuit works all of my muscle groups and after I finish the rounds, I may grab a hula hoop and do 500 spins. Or I’ll go home and using one of my two weighted hula hoops push myself to do 1000 spins. Hooping is an excellent weight buster.
Warming up and cooling down after exercising is important, because it allows your heart rate to increase and decrease gradually. This is very important if you have hypertension. The benefits of regular exercise are countless. It lowers blood pressure, increases energy, improves balance, boosts the immune system, builds strength and sheds unwanted pounds. And an added plus – exercising releases endorphins responsible for that euphoric feeling, like a runner’s high. I ask you detoxed hippies, “What’s better than a natural high?”
Boomer Baby, if you are exercising regularly, more power to you. If not – try it. And if you think that you are too old to exercise, use a little humor to erase that thought. Remind yourself, as I do, of a favorite quote that I saw somewhere, “Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what the hell happened.”