Tuesday, January 7, 2014

To move or not to move?

Machines that aren't regularly maintained with proper coatings and lubricants and kept moving tend to rust. Their moving parts move only with difficulty or not at all. Over time their rusting metal gets so brittle that it breaks into bits, disintegrating little by little. Kind of sad and a waste of a beautiful mechanism that's useful life was cut short.

Most of us wouldn't let that happen to one of our treasured possessions. Unfortunately some of us do let a similar process of disuse and decay happen to our bodies. Fortunately it's reversible if we get off the couch, out of our chair and up and moving.

I have definitely been guilty of not moving enough at times in my life. I had no idea the price I was paying, especially as I grew older. Now that I'm so much more aware of anatomy and physiology and the danger of disuse because of my personal training study I am super motivated to stay moving and fit.

When we don't move our bodies often enough or in a great enough variety of ways our joints don't get lubricated with synovial fluid as they should. Our tendons, ligaments and muscles stiffen and weaken. Our bones become more brittle. Over time we become weaker, more unbalanced, rigid. For most people the debilities of aging, including the inability to perform regular activities of daily living, aren't so much about the natural aging process, but about disuse.

True, it's often a greater challenge to keep moving as we age because of weight gain and/or a growing number of aches and pains. But we can't let that stop us. Otherwise we'll just start a downward cycle of weight gain, more pain, less and less activity and greater and greater debility.

The truth is that we're either getting fitter or less fit every day because of our choices to move or not to move. The more we move on a consistent basis the healthier we'll be. Even those with health challenges, pain and/or disabilities need to move and can with some medical guidance.

I so admire the seniors in the 70s, 80s and 90s in my exercise classes and personal training sessions who continue to move it on a consistent basis even with discomforts such as arthritis, neuralgia, stroke debilities, and other chronic conditions. They are all younger than their chronological age in terms of physical health, appearance, mood and general well being. They aren't rusting out, they're stepping out into every day like the adventure it is.