As many of you know, I spend my one hour lunches working out. Some days I run, some days I attend a yoga class (a co-worker is a yoga instructor and leads a class for us), and some times I go for a walk (power shopping at the nearby mall). Some of my co-workers are very supportive while others are not. I often get comments like:
“I can’t work out on my lunch, I’d get all sweaty and my hair would get messed up.”
I have to be honest with you – yes, my hair gets messed up and yes, I get all sweaty and I sit in my own filth all afternoon. (There are showers available but showering eats into my exercise time). But you know what? In my eyes it ‘s a small price to pay for the benefits I get out of working out.
Working out on my lunch is awesome because I focus so much better in the afternoon AND I have so much more energy (and patience). It’s good for me! Truthfully, I would much rather have my health, than pretty hair. Besides I happen to think I look pretty darn cute rockin ‘ a pony tail with my rosy red cheeks from a kick butt workout.
I work out for many reasons and not just for immediate results either. Who cares what I look like? I’m working out for the LONG TERM benefits! As we age we lose:
- Strength – For older adults, lifting cans and jars, and even opening the jars is hard (particularly for women) because they never MAINTAINED their strength. Carrying a purse, or groceries becomes nearly impossible.
- Balance – A loss of balance leads to falls. As we age our bones also become more brittle and our circulation diminishes. A loss of balance can cause some serious injuries that take a long time to heal – hip fractures, wrist fractures etc…These injuries lead to a loss of mobility and independence.
- Flexibility – as a Student Athletic Therapist, I treated a lot of older people with what ‘s called adhesive capsulitis. The shoulder capsule has become tight preventing the older adult from raising their arm to do simple tasks like brushing their hair, feeding themselves, brushing their teeth etc… (The rehab for this is long and PAINFUL). Why does this happen? Think about it: how often do you lift your arms over your head in a typical day? We need to stretch!!!
- Cardiovascular health – as we age our blood vessels and veins lose their flexibility. Also high cholesterol levels causes a build up of plaque in the arteries, veins etc surrounding the heart. Inflexible veins and a build of plaque prevents the blood from flowing – without blood the heart tissue and brain tissue dies. But cardiovascular exercise maintains the flexibility of those veins and arteries, it also reduces your cholesterol levels!
- Mental health – The loss of independence is a significant factor in depression. Not being able to get out of the house to see friends and family is EXTREMELY isolating.
I often wonder, at 60, 70, 80 yrs of age and in failing health, do the people who were not active at all in their youth ever regret it?
What about the healthy people like my dad? At the age of 62 he ‘s an awesome curler and golfer! He STILL walks the golf course! You know why he can do that? Because he ‘s always done that, he ‘s maintained his health. He hasn’t given a shit for how bad he smells after playing golf! He’s out there getting exercise and enjoying the beautiful weather!
Use it or lose it folks!! Not exercising may be more convenient and comfortable now but what about later on in life? Will it matter if your hair looked good in the afternoon? Who wants to burden their children with caring for them because they can ‘t do things for themselves? I would much rather spend my retirement time seeing the world and playing with my grandchildren than confined to a wheelchair because I’m too frail.
C ‘mon folks…just do it! It ‘s NEVER too late!
What’s more important – your hair or your health? Exercise for yourself, for your kids, for your grandchildren… but most importantly do it for YOU!