Everyone knows that exercise is good for you. This is especially true for older people – people like me. What everyone doesn’t know is that things that we are already doing count as exercise. Here are a few examples:
· Finding and retrieving Kim’s phone. In a loving effort to improve my health, she often deposits it one floor away from where she is, and since I’m a bit more mobile than she is these days, I fetch it for her. This makes me feel good about helping, and the stair-climbing is good for my cardio-vascular health.
· I can create the same health benefit without Kim’s help. This usually happens when I go downstairs to my desk to retrieve something or do something, but when I get there, I forget what I was after. So, I go back upstairs, remember, and then go down to get it or do it. More cardio benefits!
· Sometimes it helps to build my exercise regimen into a daily routine. Every morning, over our second cup of coffee, we look at house listings on my laptop. This means going to my desk downstairs and bringing it up from where it was recharging overnight. Often it also means going back down to fetch my reading glasses. This is all good. Some days we repeat this routine after dinner.
· Another exercise routine is done on a weekly basis: hauling groceries in from the garage. Sometimes this takes two trips! Then I haul a bunch of stuff down to the freezer in the basement. Then maybe another round trip for the ones I forgot or couldn’t carry. We don’t need a Stairmaster for exercise.
· Some evenings I add some upper-body exercises. This involves mixing martinis or manhattans, adding ice, lifting the container to shoulder height, and then shaking vigorously. Not sure of the name of the muscles involved, but I do know that shortly after completing this exercise, I always feel good.
· You are probably wondering how I exercise my abs – you know, to keep my belly flat and rippled. One of the best exercises I have discovered is getting up from my nap, which often combines a rolling motion with a sit-up. I can usually do several of these a day, depending on how often I have to go to the bathroom. I have not found that six-packs help to create six-pack abs, unless it’s from carrying beer in from the garage.
· Taking out the trash and recycle stuff is a good workout because it involves lifting and walking. Not to get hung up on gender roles, but the difficult combination may be why taking out trash is typically a man’s job.
I should note here that one advantage of my system of Senior Exercise is that no special shoes are required, nor do I have to put on what is called “an outfit” to look right when I am exercising. No, everyday clothes work just fine, though I’ve found that putting on my socks provides good stretches for my legs, but I can accomplish the same stretching by trimming my toenails.
Another advantage of my Senior Exercise regimen is that hydration is easy, especially if your drinking is not limited to water. Coffee works fine for me, as does wine, and both encourage additional exercise as I head for the bathroom. I suspect beer would be just as effective.
And finally, I recall reading somewhere that the brain is the organ in our bodies that burns the most calories. If that’s the case, then working on this blog entry is a kind of exercise – right? Of course, you may think that not much brain energy went into this piece . . ..