My Christmas Wish for YOU #5: Stay Out Of The Well

Why did grandma break her hip?
Did she fall on the ice and break her bone–or did she break her bone, and that made her fall?
The most regrettable reason we send seniors to a nursing home? They can’t take themselves to the toilet.
We lose muscle strength as we age. But there’s no reason we can’t be strong ENOUGH to shovel snow. There’s no reason, even at 90, we can’t be fast ENOUGH to catch ourselves before falling on ice, or push a shopping cart through powder. We don’t need to push down trees; but we can certainly be strong ENOUGH to push ourselves up off the floor.
One of the main reasons we weaken as we age is that our exposure to movement narrows. We stop doing new things. We stick only to the basic necessities: walking, sitting, bending over. And with mechanical aids to help us do those things, we quickly lose those abilities, too.
Portable walkers can help a senior move slowly in a straight line. But it also removes their ability to move laterally: they literally can’t step aside, because they’re caged in.
Think about your habits: what NEW habit have you formed in 2017? What NEW activity are you doing that you weren’t a year ago?
Is your range of daily activity broadening, or narrowing?
Do senior citizens take up cross-country skiing? They should…but most don’t.
Do people over 50 learn how to swim? They should…but most don’t.
Mountain biking? Weightlifting? CrossFit? All are easy and safe to learn…but most don’t.
Instead, we’re pulled down the well of competence: we go deeper into the things we like, and our experience narrows as we go.
Instead of starting to jog, we start riding a golf cart.
Instead of working harder to pick up our feet and move to the left, we accept the walker–maybe too early.
Well, everyone wants you to be secure. No one wants grandma to fall down. But the illusion of safety is a red herring: bad stuff is going to happen to you. You WILL fall. You WILL struggle to get off the toilet. Then what?
If you do one thing in 2018, please make it this: try a new activity.
Go out at 2am and try jogging if you have to. Borrow a set of snowshoes. Call the pool and ask when it’s least busy. Call Catalyst and ask to try a workout in complete privacy.
You’re going to be BAD at it the first time. Accept that. And also accept that you’ll be 20% better the second time. You’ll get out of your physical well, and your mental one too.