As a child, my grandma took care of me while my mom worked. We spent long hours playing card games like Kings in the Corners and Rummy. She read the paper daily and kept her fingernails perfectly manicured and polished.
During the school year, I would go to her house until my mom picked me up a bit after 5:00. Grandma was busy making dinner on her Monarch range. She was the quintessential 1950s homemaker. There were days designated for special activities, Monday–wash, Tuesday–iron…Her house was organized and clean.
There was one thing that she never did however, she never exercised (if she could help it).
As I look back at the comfort and stability of that time and place, I feel the love of a grandma–that of an old, old woman.
Looking at pictures, she looked like a grandma…she was somewhat round (even though she wore a girdle “for my back” she explained to me once). Her salt and pepper gray hair was permed and dried in rollers after washing. The picture in my mind’s eye is from the mid-1970s–and that would make her the same age as I am right NOW!
You wanna know a big, perhaps THE big difference between the two of us (besides her anal-retentive ability to perfectly organize not only the kit hen but the entire house) was EXCERCISE!
I have vivid memories of her walking up a single flight of stairs with difficulty. Leaning forward, holding onto the railing for support as she approached the top steps. She then would pause at the top to catch her breath…
When she sat in a chair, she always seemed to “plop” rather angry fully. Low sofas were avoided for fear of not being able to get up again. Walking to the car or next door to the neighbor’s house was her distance limit.
If you want to stay young…you’ve got to MOVE it! Exercise isn’t just for people who want to lose weight. (As a matter of fact, exercise is NOT the most efficient way to drop pounds–that’s more of an issue of what you’re eating.) Movement is what you do to be healthy, stay, young, and feel happy. Regular exercise has been part of my life for the past several years. My routine is basic–and that’s what makes it sustainable.
I often wear the same t-shirt and shorts or pants to bed that I walk in the following day. After I get out of bed, I immediately put on socks and my walking shoes. By the door, I have available my jacket, hat, gloves, neck gator, and pain poncho. It’s probably the yuckiest to walk in the rain…worse than -20 below 0. When it’s cold, it’s just a matter of bundling up. As I heard in Norway, “There is no bad weather, just or clothing choices”.
Stella doesn’t mind the cold. I’ve even talked to the vet about walking her in the winter, in extreme cold, because she seemed to enjoy it. He said that he had seen several dogs with feet burned from hot pavement, but no problems from exercising in sub-zero temps.
I love, love, love an app by Johnson&Johnson called ” The 7 Minute Workout”. It is the only truly free (not even “in-app” purchases) app that works all body areas–arms, legs, and core, and is adjustable to your fitness level.
I began using the app on the beginner level but even at the level, you can adjust or modify the exercises to your fitness level. For example, on the first level, one of the exercises I use is 15-30 seconds of push-ups. (When was the last time YOU tried a push-up…yeah I thought so.) I’m supposed to be doing straight leg manly-man style (nope), but I do the push-ups on my knees instead. You could even do the pushups with your hands on a chair or using a wall as modifications.
I’ve taken classes at my local YMCA, tried out HOT yoga, and tried out a few independent young groups. I love yoga soooo much that I even got certified to teach it a few years ago! But you don’t need to be hardcore to get the beautiful benefits from doing yoga.
There is an AWESOME on-line teacher that I recommend to EVERYONE… yogawithadrianne on youtube. She has 30-day challenges and she posts a new class every Monday. Unlike the app I mentioned earlier, she actually suggests and encourages you to modify the experience to “do what feels good”.
Now, I don’t do all of this every day. I walk EVERY day. Immediately after this, I do the 7 Minute Workout app most weekdays and yoga on the weekends.
I wonder what my grandma would think about all this if she was still with us. She would probably hate my long grey hair, just as my mom detests it.
It’s easy to imagine grandma’s approval about my neat, short, manicured nails. Although, as a woman who preferred the colors “wine”, “sangria”, and “cherry flash”, she would freak over “berry blue”, “seafoam”, or “smoldering teal”.
She would love the cartoon character Maxine who says, “I always start running in the fall–not all of me, just my nose”. While I’m more of a “People my age are so much older than me” kind of girl.
I’m way too young to be old…gotta MOVE it!