Why Don’t I Feel Well?
We live in a culture and in a country which defies youth, beauty and wealth. When we seek to relax by watching a movie or our favorite TV show, we see men and women who are mostly perfect: physique, hair, teeth and every other feature they own. So where does that leave those of us who aren’t so young and who do not nor never did have perfect bodies? Sitting passively watching those gorgeous creatures while wishing that we still looked like that-if we ever did?
I’m here to proclaim that there is another side of this youth obsessed culture-an extremely positive side for those of us who have some years and wisdom on us. This is becoming the age of taking responsibility for our health and our wellness. While in Oregon on vacation last summer, I joined a gym for the two weeks we would be in Bandon and worked out regularly at different hours of the day. Not infrequently, I was the youngest person there – many of those working out at the same time I was were in their seventies and eighties. Their routines were a bit less strenuous than mine but by golly they were there with their clipboards and very conscientious about checking off each routine for each of the machines that the owner of the gym had set up for them.
How wonderful to be living in an age when growing older does not mean condemning ourselves to immobility or passively watching our lives slip away. So you can probably guess my solution to the complaint of not feeling well? Right, get up, get out and walk or jog or dance or run.
The data are overwhelming: muscle mass need not diminish as we approach the 6th, 7th and 8th decades of life. Studies have shown that weekly upper body weight workouts build muscle mass for men and women well into their eighties.
One of the most dangerous threats to health is immobility; sitting in that chair and not moving: it’s a major contributor to high blood pressure, clot formation, weight gain, diabetes and a myriad of the chronic diseases that afflict us in later life. Physiologically, there is no better treatment for depression than exercise. The endorphins released during a medium level workout are far more effective than any anti-depressant in creating feelings of well-being and peace.
So if you are not feeling well, kind of down and blue, do not turn on the television to gaze at those beautiful people wistfully. But do get up and take your dogs for a hike or join a local gym and ask the owner or one of the people who work there to assist you in putting together an exercise regime that will not overly tax you but that you can begin now and continue into your old age. You will never look back, I guarantee it.