Ways to Age Gracefully
by Lisa Poole on Tuesday, August 30, 2016
It can be good or bad, difficult or easy, but it does change.
Mine has changed so much over the years. The change I am coming to terms with right now is age and all the physical changes that getting older brings with it.
I discovered exercise in my teens. I am not talking sports but exercise. I did not play sports and hated gym class. That required coordination and desire that I did not possess. Do not ask me to run, jump or catch a ball. Unless of course, you are looking for a good laugh. I started going to Jazzercise with my mom while in high school. It was basically dance class with some calisthenics. I liked it. It was fun and made me feel good.
A few years later in my early 20’s we had a neighbor who taught my husband and I the ins and outs of weight training. I loved it. I could do this. I felt strong. My confidence grew as the numbers on the free weights went up. Nothing like having a group of guys impressed by the weight you are moving to make you feel like you can conquer the world. I worked out hard, ate what I wanted and dealt with the occasional soreness; it was good.
Life moved on. Kids came. I exercised through both pregnancies. I felt great other than the alien life forms that took over my body …lol… Post pregnancy s I continued with my routines. A little loss of strength but that was ok new priorities, I still felt strong and healthy.
Throughout my 30’s and 40’s I had chronic back soreness then the hip pain thing started. I still worked out and really was in great shape other than the lack of range of motion and pain in the hip and back. Recovery from work out was still about the same. The soreness hung a little longer but overall I was feeling good.
46 hip replaced …..pain is better and that is great, but….this body is not recovering like it used to
49 I am not happy. The past year plus the weight battle has begun, sleep is sporadic, energy is low most of the time and OMG the aches and pains never end, WTH. I have started and stopped a couple of different exercise programs. I have stopped and started a couple of “diets”. All ending with frustration, aches and pains. When I exercise with my old mindset (no pain no gain, suck it up buttercup, sweat is fat crying, if your not first your last etc.) I hurt for days, it affects my work and my sleep. If I skip working out my stress increases, I feel bloated and puffy (guys you may not understand that one), and my energy is soooo low.
I have banged my head on the wall for months. I do a lot of reading and asking questions. I have come across a few article about working out smarter. I have sat down and thought about how I like to exercise, what I like to do, and how I can encompass some of the ideas I have read. These are the top three changes I am making.
- Working on range of motion to gain strength.
- Exercising to the point where it feels good not to the point of the “burn or pain”.
- Listening to your body.
I am putting those old exercise routines away. I will take a walk if that’s what my body and mind are in need of. I will lift weights when my energy feels good and I have some stress to get rid of. I will do some crazy calisthenics to work on flexibility and range of motion strength. I will stretch just because it feels goods. I won’t lift to max rep or the burn. I won’t beat myself up if I “only” stretch for 30 minutes. Moderation will be my focus.
When it comes to my diet I decided to go to a professional dietician. Too much info on the web. Some good, some bad and lots of crazy ideas. I know my problem foods and with help, I am learning how to eat to feel good. To learn how to fuel my body for its daily needs. I have been putting in the time to prepare healthy meals and to learn what triggers get me to eat the junk (lack of sleep is a huge contributor). The past month I have done 3 major changes in my diet.
- No sugar.
- No alcohol.
- Cut back on grains, pasta, and rice.
It has been hard. I love sweets (candies, cookies, cakes) and I love me some simple carbs (oatmeal, cereal, crackers) mmmmmm…. I am happy to share without counting calories but thinking about what I eat and choosing non-processed foods I have lost 6 lbs. That may sound small to some but that is huge for me.
I turn the big 5 0 next year. My goal is in the next 8 months is to find my energy again, to continue to lose those pounds that are hanging around, sleep better and get my guns back (as in biceps…welcome to the gun show..haha). I want to age gracefully and as pain-free as I can be. This will take some work and dedication. But the alternative does not look like any fun.