“Keep moving.” That’s my new motto. I want it to apply to everything in my life, starting with exercise.
I’ve shredded my list of fitness goals since my first Fitbit fell off my wrist and an essential plastic piece in my second Fitbit broke. I don’t worry about walking 10,000 steps a day, or the 15,000 that a University of Washington research team is now touting. I don’t want to count minutes or steps. I just want to keep moving.
There are plenty of good reasons to live the motto. When you Google aging and movement, you get the following titles (and many more): “The Biggest Anti-Aging Secret on Earth? Moving Your Body;” “Aging Intelligently: Use your brain; Move Your body;” “Moving Your Body is Good for Your Mind;” “Exercise and Aging: Can You Walk Away from Father Time?”
Father Time will always catch up to us, but the study on which the latter article was based showed that the following improvements could occur with exercise that increases your heart rate and breathing:
*decrease in heart vessel and heart muscle stiffness,
*decrease in resting heart rate and blood pressure;
*increase in metabolic rate;
*decrease in body fat and blood sugar;
*increase in quality of sleep; and
*decrease in memory lapses.
“Keep moving” is a prescription for healthy aging that extends beyond the physical to the mental/emotional side of life. I want to keep moving in my different communities, among my friends, continue to explore interests and feed my passions, all of which require taking action.
None of this is news. The issue is how to keep moving even as your body or brain tell you it would be nicer to take a nap, sit down with a book, or watch that miniseries you recorded last week. Nothing wrong with these options, except when they replace movement.
However, I’m finding that it’s so easy to slow down or even better, do nothing. Last spring, I walked three or four miles, five days a week. Then we went on vacation. After we returned, one hip started to hurt, and that was a good excuse after the vacation broke the routine, and the daily walks became weekly walks. I’ve returned to walking more often, but I know how fragile the relation between exercise and me is.
Since I retired, I’ve found it’s nice to slow down a little. I like to begin the day with the cat on my lap and a cup of tea in my hand and work in other activities later in the day. I have fewer goals and write more grocery lists than things-to-do-lists. Yet going too slowly has its risks, and that’s where constant reminders to keep moving come in. It’s an easy motto to remember. I’ve written it on sticky notes and posted these in places where the temptations are overwhelming to read one more “New York Times” article about our failing political system, check “like” on another Facebook post, search for that chocolate bar I hid a few weeks ago, or lie on the couch with my eyes shut and wonder what to fix for dinner.
Once the sticky notes are unstuck, I’ll just write “Move.” That’s all I really need to remember.