Flirting with time

Reading and thinking about the biology of aging this week (for a class) has had me thinking more than ever how people of a certain age who don’t exercise are just flirting with time.

Time may be quite a tease, but it will get you in the end with things like faulty balance, weak or stiff muscles, uncertain gait, and loss of confidence from being unable to do all the things we do that make life easy and keep us independent.

Like bending over to tie a shoe. Or standing on one foot to put on pants or on your tiptoes to reach for something on a high shelf. Or picking up your grandchild.

When we’re younger exercise often starts as a function of vanity. By the 50s, well, there’s still that, but it’s also to maintain strength and balance. Working out/exercising regularly might not literally add years to your life, but it will add life to your years in terms of pep in your step, youthful posture and confidence.

Not to mention the whole calorie-burning thing. And the cardio health considerations. And the apparent fact that exercise converts white fat into calorie-smoking brown fat so you can eat more and maintain your weight as you age.

Baby boomers, I’m talking to you. But also to your grown kids. And to your parents. Do yourselves a favor, even if you don’t “exercise,” and work on your balance. It’s never too early and it’s never too late.

If you want an enjoyable DVD to help you get started working on your balance, Ellen Barrett Live: Power Fusion  is great. And, for me, anyway, it’s fun, fun, fun.

Part yoga and part dance, the many repetitions of deceptively easy movements will have you sweating in no time – and wondering how that level of intensity snuck up on you.

You may need to adapt some moves (I have to tweak the arm movements to avoid damaging my refurbished rotator cuffs, for example); conveniently, you have a “modifier” to follow. Another example: I’ve never been very limber and can’t “thread the needle.” Probably never will be able to, but that’s ok.

In my 40s, I’d have struggled to thread that needle no matter how bad it hurt and what damage it did – and that’s at home in front of the TV, not in a class full of fellow she-jocks. Silly, huh?

I got over myself. These days I modify and move on.

Back to Power Fusion – I’d recommend it to anyone. Even if you can’t do the one-legged balance moves today, stick with it and you’ll get there. And you just might be able to outwit time.

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