When we were kids and we broke a bone, we thought in terms of “when it’s better.” When we were young adults, we saw any kind of health limitation as a nuisance to be endured for as long as you had to until it healed. But somewhere north of 50, the culture starts to see whatever goes wrong with a human body as permanent–part of the inevitable downward spiral. You’re a victim of aging rather than a broken foot. “It’s only going to get worse…”
We need to stop buying that baloney. We are just as capable of getting back into the swing of things as younger people if we commit to recovery. Yes, it’s not automatic anymore. But it’s certainly doable. Too often, we accept the fate decreed by our uninformed culture and let ourselves go sliding down the resulting slope instead.
You can become more healthy when you are faced with a life changing medical condition. Take diabetes. One of the men in my family was diagnosed with it last year. He is now 20 pounds lighter and has more energy than he’s had in years. A woman friend decided to quit smoking and work on her fitness level after she was diagnosed with breast cancer. That was more then a decade ago. She’s twelve years my senior but will beat me up a hill on a bicycle any day.
And you don’t have to be diagnosed with some dread disease to reverse that mythical “downward spiral to the grave.” You just have to want to do something so much that you put the effort into getting fit enough for it. For me, that was hiking. Being able to hike up trails that take me high into the mountains is bliss. It’s made an immense difference in my life. I had to improve my endurance dramatically to be able to keep up. Now I just might be the one in the lead. I started hiking when I was 59. I will never again assume that I can’t do more and feel better tomorrow than I do today. (And I feel pretty dang good today!)
Give this some thought: How are you limiting yourself with “expectations of being old” if you are old enough to be “aging”? (We are all aging at the same rate, incidentally…one day at a time.)
If you are not yet to age 50, give it some thought anyway. Are your comments, assumptions or behaviors encouraging those you love who are over 50 to think they “can’t?”
“Can’t” is for sissies. We use it way too much. Let’s get back to living and do what we want no matter how old we are. It starts by getting yourself into good enough shape to pull it off. Go for it!