Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Fit to Retire

Approximately 2 years ago, as I was bemoaning the effects of growing older to my daughter, she told me of a lady she had recently seen on a television talk show named Marjorie Newlin. At the age of 72 she was having difficulty lifting 50# bags of kitty litter without help. Being a feisty and independent type of gal, Marjorie decided to work on getting stronger.  Read her story at the link below.


Well, I decided that if this spunky little lady could do all that, then I , being considerably younger, should be able to improve my physical strength as well.

Let me just say that I am no Marjorie Newlin. However, I realize that what prompted Marjorie should prompt many of the rest of us as well. In the nursing profession we are constantly faced with the effects of loss of strength and vitality in our patients. One of the most devastating accidents for the elderly is a fall resulting in broken bones, and most notably, hip fractures. Sadly, we often take it for granted that this is just one of the 'side effects' of aging. As I researched articles about senior citizens and weight training I came to realize that the lack of strength plays a major role in debilitating falls. When our muscles are strong, our skeletal system has the support it needs to keep us on our feet, so to speak. It made sense to me.

So... I now have a set of dumbells and a treadmill in my back room. I still am not a Marjorie Newlin, but I am a stronger me than I was 2 years ago. Carrying in the groceries is easier, doing my job is easier and I have fewer aches and pains than before. I have increased energy and a more positive outlook on life. I am beginning to feel like I may, after all, have the vitality to enjoy my retirement when the time comes.

Having said all that, let me say this. Embarking on a weight training and fitness program is a great idea, but each program must be individualized to avoid injury. I initially joined a fitness club and even invested in the coaching of a personal trainer for a few sessions. In doing this, I learned proper technique and how often to work out as well as becoming familiar with which muscles were being worked. I found it well worth the money, as I have to confess total ignorance at the beginning.

If you decide to try a similar path to fitness, I suggest that you do your research and find someone who knows to help you learn the correct way to do it. Then just persevere. And remember, fitness is not about how you look. It's about being strong, healthy and full of vitality. The bonus is that the benefits are exponential!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Count Down to Retirement

I've noticed an interesting phenomenon as I grow older. The things that once held great importance for me are taking 2nd place to things much more pressing. Career aspirations have given way to spending more time with family and friends. Material items are losing importance and being replaced by things more worthy of time and energy.

I've noticed that the days fly by, but the nights grow long. My step is a bit slower and the joints occasionally ache. The recliner is becoming a fast friend, and a good book a welcome companion. Things that once were taken for granted are now receiving the appreciation they deserve, such as health, strength, comfortable accommodations, electric blankets and warm fuzzy slippers.

As I look ahead, I relish the idea of being retired. It will be a time of doing what I want, free from the restraints of a work schedule. I'm fortunate to have many interests and hobbies, so I really can't see retirement as a time of boredom or inactivity. I intend to enjoy my retirement to the fullest. But in order to do that, I must have a certain level of health, strength and energy.

I thank God that I am a healthy individual. It helps me continue my work as a nurse, and to do the things I enjoy. But I realize that if I am to enjoy my 'golden years' I need to do a few things to keep myself strong and healthy. I also need to be proactive about exercising my mind to keep it clear and sharp.

In my next few posts I will be sharing some of the things I believe will help me be in a position to enjoy my retirement. I will also be sharing some tips from some of my favorite 'old folks' on how they handle their retirement.

So, if this topic interests you, visit again next week. Until then......

Be Blessed!