Monday, 11 March 2013

Let's Get Physical - Why?

That mental picture of Olivia Newton-John in workout gear is not going away, is it! The younger generations may not have that problem, but anyone who was around in the 80’s will know what I’m talking about.

The kind of “getting physical” Olivia sings about isn’t really the message today, unless, of course, you want it to be! I’m talking about getting myself into good physical condition.
the walk we took my mother on for
her 80th birthday!
I’m not talking about being in seriously good condition like the trainers on the Biggest Loser. I don’t think it’s possible for me to be like those trainers. I just want to be healthy.

Why do I want this? I want to be well enough that I can enjoy doing the things I enjoy – the things I want to do in my Joyful Retirement. That doesn’t mean I have to be able to run a marathon, or do 100 push-ups, or a pull-up (pull-ups are seriously impossible for me to do!), or be a perfect size X (insert desired dress size here), or never eat chocolate again.
When planning for retirement, we put together a list of the things we wanted to do – travel, do bushwalks, take up hobbies (Les wants to start doing lawn bowls, apparently it isn’t just old people who play these days), build a vegie garden, catch up with friends.

the ship we did a harbour cruise on
Imagine how hard it would be to travel if I was way overweight and couldn’t fit comfortably in the plane seat. Or I couldn’t climb to the top of the lookout to see the whales swimming by. Or I couldn’t go on a harbour cruise because my balance was bad and I risked falling over and breaking a bone.
Imagine how hard it would be to play lawn bowls if you can’t bend down (actually, they have special sticks you can buy that mean you can pick up the bowls without having to bend over!).
Imagine how limiting it would be if the bushwalks we went on had to be less than 15-30 minutes because I couldn’t walk further than that without getting exhausted.

What this means, though, is I have to put in some effort to maintain a healthy body. I like the comparison with a car – we all try to put the right fuel into it, service it regularly, give it a wash every now and then so it looks pretty, and it rewards us with working when we need to use it, and for a good number of years if we look after it well.

I also like the car comparison because there are so many cars out there – ranging from the slick little MG, to the hulking great Hummers. I drive a silver Toyota Corolla – how much more average can you get! So, I can’t expect to get a physical condition like an MG when I’m actually a Corolla.
some flowers I saw on one of my walks around
the neighbourhood
So, what would happen if I didn’t look after myself? Well, it is no surprise that I’m getting older, and let me tell you that things start going wrong when that happens – things that you have very little control over. I never had an issue with high cholesterol until I turned 50, then WHAM! I hadn’t changed my diet, so all I can assume is that it is just one of those things that I have to live with.
But there are things that I can delay – like muscle degeneration, changes to bone density – or improve – like heart health, fitness level, balance. And if I don’t do anything about these things, how will I be able to enjoy my life?
That’s the Why – or my motivation for trying to be in good physical condition. All I had to do then was develop a plan for how I was going to do it – aah, yes, planning, and Be Prepared!

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