Sue Bruns: Time to move it, move it!
As the days grow shorter, the temps drop lower, the turkey dinner settles, and the football games lull us into an early winter stupor, it's easy to tell the dog she won't be getting a walk today: "Just be happy you have a warm place to sleep! Now...
As the days grow shorter, the temps drop lower, the turkey dinner settles, and the football games lull us into an early winter stupor, it’s easy to tell the dog she won’t be getting a walk today: “Just be happy you have a warm place to sleep! Now here’s a biscuit. Wag your tail a bit for some exercise and then curl up for a nap like the rest of us.”
Excuses are plentiful: “It’s too cold, too windy, the snow is too soppy; it’s icy – I might slip; I worked hard yesterday so I deserve to be a slug today; I don’t like getting up when it’s still dark out; I like to go to bed as soon as the sun goes down.”
Obviously in the winter time, the sun up, sun down guide to sleep can give us a short enough waking day that we barely have time to fit in a good long nap!
If the most exercise we get in a day is to walk across the bathroom to step on the scale, we can’t be too surprised at the reading we’ll find there, right? Yes, here in northern Minnesota, we can find lots of excuses for being winter couch potatoes; but when the weather suggests that we were hibernating animals in a previous life and should retreat to our dens, that is the time we most need to move it, move it.
In fact “I Like to Move It, Move It” from the “Madagascar” movie soundtrack might be just the song to inspire us. I find that my physical activity and productivity are both greatly enhanced by music with a snappy beat. Another thing that inspires me is to find examples of people who are considerably older than I am and are still living active, productive lives. These people live by the credo: “You don’t stop playing when you get old; you get old when you stop playing.”
A little online searching brought me to several stories about people in their 90’s who haven’t stopped playing:
In November of 2012, the Winnipeg Sun ran a story about Mike Yaschuk’s 90th birthday. A hockey player all his life, Mike still played two games a week with the Winnipeg Steelers, a team that included two former NHL players. “I never figured I’d get to 90 and still be skating with the Steelers,” the Sun quoted him. “I still enjoy it and I’ll play as long as I can. I’ve lost a few steps over the years but I still get the odd goal,” as he did in a game the night of his 90th birthday.
A 2013 YouTube video features a fit, buff 93-year-old Dr. Charles Eugster who started weight training at age 87 because he wanted to attract the attention of “those young 70-year-old girls on the beach.” The retired dentist said, “You’re never too old to start something new.”
In May of this year, 92-year-old Harriette Thompson, a cancer survivor, completed a full 26.2-mile marathon. She crossed the finish line of the Rock n Roll Marathon in San Diego with a time of 7:24:36. Her strategy: “I’m just going to walk real fast and then run some, and just try not to wear myself down too fast.” It was Harriette’s 16th marathon, all since she turned 76. Incidentally, in 2014 she set a world record for women over 90, running the marathon in 7:07:42.
In June, 96-year-old Tao Porchon Lynch appeared on “America’s Got Talent” with her 26 year-old dance instructor. Tao, wearing a silver spangled dress and hot pink heels, performed a ballroom dance number that included several lifts and dips. She smiled as audience members and judges gazed in admiration and laughed in delight. I’m guessing Tao’s doctors were quite satisfied with the results of her hip replacements. (She’s had three.) She says, “There’s so much to do and so little time.”
We don’t have to run marathons; body building at 87 isn’t for everyone; and most of us won’t play hockey in our 90s or dance on stage at 96, but why would we be content with doing less than what we are capable of doing?
Walk, swim, skate, ski, hit the treadmill – we need to do whatever we can this winter. Let’s get out there and move it, move it!
(And be thankful for all we can do.)