Sunday, 5 May 2013

Let's Get Physical - How

A while ago I wrote about Why being physically prepared for retirement was important. I think I might have forgotten a major point, and of course it was my Mum who reminded me of it. Not that she said “I think you’ve forgotten the most important point”, but she DID say something that struck a chord with me.

some pretty flowers from my old neighbourhood
Ever since my Dad died a few years ago, Mum has been suffering terribly from the grief and depression. It has got to the point where she is seriously worried about herself, which in turn only makes it all worse. Then a short time ago, something happened that made her think that all was not lost. She went for a walk.
Yep, that’s all. Even though she didn’t feel like it, she still went out. And instead of going for a short walk, she went so far that she was worried she wouldn’t make it home! It was getting dark, and she started to get a bit worried, so she upped the pace, and instead of just wandering along, she got the old heart going. When she got home, she felt great! Maybe she felt that way because she was so relieved to make it back safely. But I think it was more than that.

Couch Potato!
It is well documented that exercise is a very effective method of dealing with depression. If you can just get yourself off the lounge and out into the big wide world, it does a heap of good. Just ask my Mum! So that is a very important point for Why we need to be physically prepared – it can help combat the mental challenges that retirement can bring.
What happened with Mum also shows one of the Hows of being physically prepared. Walking around the neighbourhood is easy, cheap, and educational – one time when I was walking around my neighbourhood, I encountered a horse grazing in the front yard of a house a couple of streets from me, and this was the inner west of Sydney!

I’ve found walking to be the best way for me to get back into exercising when I’ve been a couch potato for too long. It’s something that can be incorporated into my life without actually calling it exercise. Instead of driving to the fruit and vegie shop, I’d walk. Instead of driving to my appointments, I’d walk. I mean, I wasn’t that busy that I didn’t have the time! All I had to do was plan for the extra time it would take me to walk there and back. There I go again – Planning!!!
I walked HEAPS one day - but I was out there
to take photos, so didn't think of it as
EXERCISE
Other ways to get physical – who else gets home from doing the grocery shopping and tries to unload the bags from the car into the house in as few trips as humanly possible? I have been known to carry 4 shopping bags on each arm, and still manage to open the front door to get into the house, lock the car using the remote, and stagger down the hall to the kitchen. But what’s so important about doing the least number of trips possible? Who was I competing with? Or maybe I was doing strength training?

Basically, I could increase the amount of exercise I got by being sensible and making as many trips as necessary to get the groceries into the house.
So, I found I was more likely to do the exercise if I didn’t think of it as exercise. Weird.

That was Step 1 in the plan for How I was to get physical.

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