How to age gracefully….with Wheelhouse of course!

Age, something mankind has tried to control for a long time, it’s inevitable and one that we usually put off to the back burner when young, until one day, we wake up  and realize we’re not as agile as we used to be. And then it hits us, we’re getting older – Sound familiar?

It’s Carl’s birthday today and it’s one of those special milestones that we don’t discuss 🙂  – no prizes for guessing which one!. If you’re in your twenties, you have a long way to go before your body moves much slower than your mind is telling it to – like mine for example! I look back and often wonder whether there were things I could have done when I was in my teens or twenties that could preserve my agility or reduce the wrinkles that seem to have crept up over the last few years. So, how can we grow old gracefully whilst reducing the effects of aging?

Apparently, the average duration of human life in the United States is around 70 years for women and a little less for men. Conservative experts believe that man is really built to last about 100 years or so; and that medical advances and healthier living habits could bring this about within a generation or two. But, I ask what good is it to add years to our lives if we do not also add life to years? In fact, unless we learn to enjoy life and to grow old gracefully, the extra years may turn out to be an additional burden.

From 18 to 30 years is roughly the period when we feel there is no physical challenge that we cannot do and we’re at the height of our highest physical and mental wellbeing. The experiences we accumulate from the day we are born help us to conserve and to use our physical and mental abilities more wisely, so that for some time after 30 years we are able to perform increasingly well in spite of slowly slipping vigor. After age 50 the increasing accumulation of experience is no longer able to offset the now more rapid loss of energy, and therefore aging begins to assert itself noticeably and in many ways.

A number of things may come about as we age – often unnoticed. For example, I’ve never worn glasses before but i suspect as I get older I may need them to drive or read. I may need to start wearing a pair within the next 5 years or so. As we reach our forties, we are likely to put on weight because there is a general slowdown in the oxidation rate of the aging body tissue – Please, no comments on the flabby ring around my waist! Additionally, we tend to do less strenuous work with no reduction in the amount of food consumed. I know, I should work out more and perhaps occasionally take a spin class (oops!) but i fall to the obvious excuse – work. I’ve heard that when i hit the big 50, there may be the onset of hearing loss starting with the high-pitched tones that go first, so words with the sounds of F, S, and TH will be confusing. Now, that’s something to look forward to! I’m hoping that before I get fitted with a hearing aid, that they at least make them tiny or colorful – perhaps the Wheel House logo on mine!

I’ve already noticed that as I get older,  I’ve lost some of my physical flexibility, it started with my joints. This would explain the stiffness or soreness I experience sometimes when i crawl out of bed. I find that a good stretch usually does the trick for me, but after a strenuous trip, excessive “night life,” or hard work folding the towels; it does take longer for me to bounce back. As we age, the healing process of wounds is slower and slower recovery from sore muscles, sprains or getting back to normal from illness are all signs that nature has provided us on the effects of aging.

Men, especially, will notice loss of muscular strength. There will be increased unsteadiness, delicate muscle movements will become clumsy, and the stride in walking will become shorter. The conclusion I’m beginning to draw is that the performance and ability of the elderly has long been underestimated and can be greatly improved by a proper diet, sleep (who get’s 8 hours of sleep these days?), and exercise, along with rest and relaxation. Note the last two activities: rest AND relaxation. Too often we think more is important when in reality more is just more with unnecessary strain on our bodies and we should listen to our inner conscious. Take a break, even in the middle of a Wheelhouse class!

Many elderly people tend to lose their joy and will to live, and chronic worrier’s may mope around and withdraw. Medical authorities now say that laughter is one of the best medicines for the elderly. My parents would always stress the importance of having a laugh and to keep our sense of humor by surrounding myself with pleasant and interesting people. I’m the first to laugh at myself, so don’t let that stop you –  act your age and don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself even when no else is around.

Perhaps the most important thing I’ve learnt is to be able to make time for physical activity and to exercise the brain by playing games that require memory or sequencing. My advice to you all would be :

  1. Do something physical every day, no matter how small it maybe or how uncomfortable it maybe at first, you’re never too old to start.  We’ve all been through the anxiety of taking your first WH class, so JUST DO IT.
  2. The joints must be used or they will tighten with age, creating that stooped and worn out appearance we so often associate with getting old. Keep yourself flexible and fit with activities you enjoy doing and consistent with your ability.
  3. Laugh at least once a day, at a joke that a friend delivered or one that you read online….and smile, it costs nothing, is free to give and makes people around you feel better and who doesn’t want to feel special!
  4. Train the mind – play chess or have a go at a puzzle! Not for you? how about Lumosity?
  5. Rest and Relax – take time out and “smell the roses!”
  6. Moisturize! It’ll pay off big time! 🙂

Remember, we only have one chance so strive and fulfill all our dreams, exercise regularly and reduce the effects of age but most important of all: Don’t fight it or let it conquer you, embrace it and live your life!

Oh, and Happy Birthday Carl!!!!  – you ‘ol codger!


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