98 and Going Strong
Sometimes all the promises about the health benefits from exercise can sound too good to be true. But as you’ll see in this inspiring article by Jeanne Erdmann about her 98-year-old mother, it is true.
We can all benefit from this 98-year-old woman’s shining example, even if we’re decades younger. Erdmann never reveals her mother’s name, just refers to her as Mom, so we will too. So here are few things to learn from Mom:
Always Be Active
Note Mom started going to the gym later in life, although she had always been very active when not seated at her desk job. She mowed the big lawn at her house. Activities of daily living, like housework and mowing the lawn, are exercise. Don’t outsource opportunities to strengthen your own body.
Keep Your Entire Body Strong with Resistance Exercise
The biggest theat to mobility from aging is loss of muscle mass and strength, which leads to frailty. Mom is a living testament that you can slow this process by doing resistance exercise, aka strength training. In addition to enabling you to do the things you enjoy with your family and friends, it will protect you from falls and speed-up recovery if you do. You don’t need to worry that you’ll bulk up like a NFL football player. What you don’t want is to be weak.
Don’t Let Pain Stop You
Mom survived bouts with cancer and falls and broken bones. Like all older people, she has osteoarthritis in some joints. All these times she could quit. But she works through the pain because exercise will lessen the pain or keep it from getting worse. (Of course, get the green light from your medical provider or physical therapist.) When the pain in Mom’s knee is especially bad, with the help of her personal trainer she just works around it with other exercise. Mom’s not letting pain disable her.
Get Help from Professionals Who Know and Value Exercise
Mom is very lucky to have the support of her family. Just as important are the medical professionals and personal trainer. The medical professionals understand Mom needs to take some calculated risk. Training to gain strength in the muscles that protect her spine is worth the risk of loading her spine with physical forces. Her trainer has a good handle on an appropriate amount of weight, number of repetitions, etc. to keep her as safe as possible, while also challenging her to get stronger.
From watching her Mom age, Erdman discovered: “We greatly underestimate the sheer physical strength we’re capable of achieving at any age.”
What are you capable of achieving? To be more like Mom would be a great resolution for 2014 for everybody.
Cascade Boomer Fitness Wishes You a Happy and Strong New Year!