Each of us is getting older every day. Why has the word “old” become such an insulting and upsetting word? A friend of mine just turned 38 and now says he feels “old”. He mentioned that his vision is getting worse and it has become easier to gain weight around his waist.
Has “old” come to mean the same as “unhealthy”? This man is quite young, depending on who you ask, and can increase his exercise level and become aware of his food choices if he doesn’t like how his mid-section looks. There may be eye procedures to help his vision. Unhealthy can be improved, old can not.
One of my personal fitness training clients has been alive 80-years so far. When we meet to exercise together there are times she looks more bent forward, is moving slowly and her knees hurt more than on other days. I ask how she is doing and she says, “Old.”
I encourage her to find extra words. If she feels ‘stiff’, we can warm up her muscles with gentle massage, a bit of cardio to increase circulation or have her get into a hot tub, shower or bath. If she is in pain, we can look for pain reduction techniques and make sure her legs are strong enough to relieve pressure on her joints when she walks. Posture can be improved by opening the chest muscles with gentle stretches and we can add back and abdominal exercises to make it easier to stand up tall. Old, we can not change. Stiff, tired, uncomfortable we often can.
If we dread the aging process, life is going to be more difficult. Changes that happen to our bodies over time can be challenging. If we let ourselves get discouraged or depressed about it, our quality of life will be reduced. How about if we focus on being as active and powerful as possible? What if every time life gets harder we become more skillful and motivated?
Do you have health tips you can share with us? Have you learned how you do…or do not…want to age by watching people around you? Here are a few other articles about making the best of the time we have from Body Aware Grieving:
Aging, Optimism and Depression