No, this post isn’t about Gloria Estefan’s Broadway musical, although that may be a future post, if I make my way into NYC to see it. Nope, this is about that second essential ingredient for a happy retirement: Good Health.
Yes, we all SAY we want good health, but what do we DO? We overeat, and what we are stuffing into our mouths is usually the worst possible choice. We smoke (well, I never did, but I am related to people that still do. Yeesh.) We act like The Cat in the Hat children. “All we could do was sit, sit, sit, sit”. We keep on electing NRA sponsored candidates that refuse to do anything about crazy people owning weapons of mass destruction, also known as assault weapons. (Whoops, got carried away by current events–that too belongs in a different, possibly future, post.)
Yes, it helps to be born with the right genes, but research continues to uncover the very strong link between lifestyle and good health, which is something that we “lifestyle managers” believe and preach enthusiastically to anyone that will listen.
About those genes: If our parents’ lifespans are any indication, there is a strong probability that Mike and I have inherited “longevity genes”. His made it into their ’90s. Mine are close to that milestone. But what about the quality of those later years? I’ve seen first-hand what lack of exercise can do to a person–both mentally and physically, and it isn’t pretty.
So, why wait for the calendar to flip to do something wonderful for yourself? Who says resolutions can only be made on New Year’s?
Full disclosure. I hate the thought of exercising. During my college years, I cut more of the required gym classes than I attended. Lucky for me the gym teacher sucked at taking attendance. So, when even an external requirement couldn’t get me into the gym in my younger days, how do I now get my sagging butt out the door? Major psych up. I tell myself I’m doing my part to keep Medicare costs down. (You’re welcome, Gen X, Y, and Millenniums). I remind myself of the places that I want to visit and the things I want to do once I get there. (Bhutan, Nepal and Tibet in the spring. Yeah baby). I look at what the total absence of exercise has done to my mother, and realize that I wouldn’t want my one child to have the responsibilities for care that are currently being shared by me and my siblings.
During my work years, I had a community of co-workers and a structured week. By joining the YMCA, I discovered the retirement equivalent of both. The variety of classes offered provides structure, and the friendly and welcoming attendees (mostly women) have become part of my community.
Notice I didn’t mention six pack abs in my reasons for exercising. Truth be told, if those three words appeared in a sentence about me, it would be this one. “Check out her abs–looks like she drank a whole six pack in one sitting”. No, at my age, exercise isn’t about looking better. It’s about staying the same. And that’s a great goal for someone who will be 70 in 4 years!
How about you? Wanna join me? I’m off to zumba right after I push the publish button.