After writing the blog “Age with an Open Mind”, I got an idea that I should write a couple of more blogs on the similar theme. The first blog was mainly about “keeping the brain active and sharp”. In second one I am writing about “keeping our body active, sharp and flexible.”
I am a non-medical person and not an expert in anything related to medicine or yoga or whatever that can keep your body in good condition. Basic theory of aging is equally true for our body, same as our brain. I will suggest things more out of common sense but please take advice of professionals before taking up some new physical activity. We must not try to attempt something because someone else is doing it.
My suggestions are for people above 60 but they are really more useful if you are 65 plus. No two bodies are same even though they may look same. Our bodies take a lot of flogging during the life time. The body condition post retirement age (In India it is generally 60) depends on our nature of work during active days, sedentary or active life style during working days. How much stress was there during working days? Did you smoke or drink a lot during active period? Did you eat a lot of food during those times that is considered not healthy? Did you have any major illness during younger days?
Maybe a good idea will be to start with a discussion with your doctor. I am sure most of us do yearly check -ups now but if you are not doing it, any time is a good time to start. I know of people who had sudden deaths and later we come to know that they never got themselves checked. A friend told me “I have never got myself checked and will never get it done”. Period! In such cases there can be many scenarios. Nothing will happen till your last day or one may have sudden fatal event! Likelihood of in between scenarios is more. An event may cause drastic reduction in quality of life. So still you don’t want to get checked. Ego? or ….
Easiest way to exercise is
1. To walk; if you have never walked for exercise, increase distance and speed gradually. In winter do some warm ups before you walk. Walking should be preferably brisk, of course definition of brisk is different for individuals. But sweating is the criteria that decides the correctness. It should not be a stroll in the park!
2. Bending, stretching, push-ups or Surya Namskar will help the body becoming stronger and flexible.
3. Add to this do some weight training! Now you must be wondering if I am telling you to follow your younger day routines. If you were doing 10/15 kgs dumbbells in younger days, go for 2/3/5 kgs. This is basically to strengthen your arms. As we age, our body strength reduces. Look at the practical side. When you travel you need to carry your bags, put your bags in the compartments above you. With weak arms you will find it tough to do so!
4. Another thing we must remember is to be a little careful while walking and try to ensure that you don’t fall. A fall in old age can lead to fractures in waist area and those can be tricky to handle. A simple way to avoid chances of the falls is to improve balance. Stand on one leg for as much time as possible, up to 30 seconds is good enough! Spread hands to keep balance. Next, do so on the other leg. Generally you will find that timing for one of the legs is less than on the other leg. Bring both legs to same level of timing and more the better. This improved balance helps in avoiding falls! I saw an example of a friend who is not fit; a minor misstep and he just buckled in front me but luckily there was no major injury.
5. Most important is to accept if some event occurs and go with the flow. If situation demands that you use walking sticks, use it with an open mind, don’t feel embarrassed. We have been using glasses for quite some time, are we embarrassed? If you need to use hearing aids, please use them. Now a days, very tiny top quality hearing aids are available. If you keep your hair slightly long, falling on your ears, people may not notice your hearing aid!
6. Yoga is well known for its benefits, deep breathing and yoga asana are too well known to be explained by me.
These are different ways I have suggested but everyone must find his own path. We need to find out the right combination of various exercises and all should be covered not in a day but over a week. Also make changes in the exercise routine, otherwise exercise sometimes becomes boring. Try to achieve minimum five days of exercising a week. Lead happy, healthy and quality life. Cheers and try to less of bubbly cheers!