Motion is Lotion, Rest is Rust.

My mom she is an F.F.W.W. (Far From a Well Woman) given her health issues as she gets older but I still love her as her memory shifts and the stories we once knew now have different people in them and sometimes different endings….can be quite interesting as the details of multiple events are cobbled together into a new tapestry of a story. She unfortunately slipped in her bathroom resulting in a minor fall and breaking her fibula in two places. She was able to walk on it as long as she used her walker and wore her walking boot but could not walk far therefore used a wheelchair for the first time in her life. Going back and forth between assisted living and the hospital multiple times, drastic changes in her routine and the loss of independence have added to her confusion as her brain struggles to pull together what happened, why it happened and what to do next.

I am watching my mom go down a similar path my father did many years ago and it has caused me to look critically at my parents’ habits that have had an impact on how they are aging. I am now 50 so I am also looking critically at my habits. “Youth is wasted on the young” is a common phrase as we get older and sometimes, I agree and sometimes I think how boring my youth would have been if I had the same safeguards I do today. We are all in our youth – right now, in this very moment, you are as young as you will ever be! Someone right now is older than you are looking at you thinking about when they were your age. From this perspective “youth” never leaves us and is always by our side. We have a choice in our youth to make decision today, this hour, this very moment to chose who we want to be tomorrow, next week, next year, in 20 years. We have the power to chose now how we want to age.

Do yourself a favor and MOVE! Our bodies are very efficient at being lazy. It is not going to maintain a system (cardiovascular, pulmonary) or a structure (bone density, muscle mass) to a point it doesn’t use on a daily basis. Those of you reading this who go to the gym five days a week will testify that Mondays in the gym suck! They suck because you had two days off and your bone density, muscle mass, nerve conduction speed, aerobic enzymes etc. … have all been dialed back a notch … measurably. That is how quickly it can happen.

Not everyone needs to have an intensive routine by joining Frontrunners or the Flamingos. Keep it simple and walk – 30 minutes a day preferably outside. When you walk you will maintain your bones, muscle mass, nerve conduction, balance, coordination, and heart function to name a few. This will benefit blood sugar control in diabetics, nerve health in multiple sclerosis, cancer, osteoporosis, arthritis, COPD, PVD, even bowel function and erectile dysfunction, to name a few. I honestly cannot think of a single disease that does not improve with movement.

Walking outside offers even more benefits. The uneven terrain (even a sidewalk) challenges balance and coordination on a subtle level which strengthens the bones and muscles to provide that increased balance. The changing temperatures challenges your autonomic system for thermal regulation. The air challenges your immune system by exposing you to the elements. Your brain now has to contend with traffic, gets changing visual information, changing auditory information, as well as the breeze to simulate the skin. All of our systems are vital and weaken when nothing changes. Small changes now can result in a better “us” in the future.

Remember, you have the power now to chose who you will be in the future. How do you want to age?

Remember: Motion is lotion, rest is rust … bedrest is dust.