Health and fitness for Boomers
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Everyone born between 1946 and 1964 is a Boomer just like us. And even though we may have challenges facing us, we also have an open future ahead. His ongoing campaign is to help us enjoy all the good things we have.
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Health and Fitness
Innovations for Boomers
You probably have been in pretty good shape several times during your life. Gradually though, we seem to experience things which knock us off our best in terms of health or physical fitness. When I began having trouble reading in low light, and no longer healed from cuts as quickly as before, I asked my doctor what could be done to get my body working right again. He just said, "Time marches on." That seems to be medical terminology for "Throw in the towel, there is nothing you can do."
If there is one thing our generation is known for, though, it is innovations -- finding a million ways to avoid throwing in the towel. We have created or adopted so many ways to stay in better health that we almost have too many choices. Vitamins. Herbs. Aerobics. Special diets. Yoga. Meditation, Spinning. Even kickboxing. The list goes on and on. I have written several books on health discoveries from around the world, and am always finding something new.
These days, if you want to be in better shape, you almost certainly can be. You may not achieve Olympic-qualifying condition, but you can usually get in better condition. Perhaps the best way, and priced accordingly, is to obtain the services of a personal trainer or life coach. Less expensive is the rainbow assortment of books available. Videos too, if you are into modern versions of Jane Fonda and Suzanne Somers. Then there is the plethora of magazine articles, Internet articles, neighborhood programs, ad- vice from friends, and flyers at health food stores. Almost too much infor- mation.
Yet it all seems to boil down to a handful of essentials. A poll of health experts shows that the first essential is to be reasonable about medical doctors and non-traditional practitioners. You may remember the days when medical doctors said everything outside of their practice was voodoo. Now many of them share practices and clinics with chiropractors and the occasional acupuncture specialist. I don't know what your experience has been, but in recent years when I had some minor surgeries, the doctors almost always prescribed herbs to be taken before or after surgery, such as Bromelain and Arnica Montana. It is no longer such an "us" versus "them" environment, which is good for everyone. What you choose to do is up to you, but these days there are more options, and it pays -- in terms of less pain and better health -- to explore them.
The next essential has to do with knowing how much you are willing to do. We tend to start difficult diets, then just as quickly abandon them. We buy gym memberships, then don't use them. We get exercise equipment for our home, which then ends up in the closet. When we were younger, maybe we had the time and energy to go running all the time, or go surfing at dawn. Times change. We still have good intentions. But for most of us those intensive energy things are not what we are realistically willing to do now. That is one reason why personal trainers and coaches seem to work well. They show up and say "Do this, now this. That's great. See you next Tuesday." They keep the process going.
For something less demading of resources, we now seem to do well by making commitments to do health-related things with other people. That means things such as playing tennis, taking healthy-cooking courses, or going hiking. For whatever reason, most of us feel bad about letting somebody else down. If it is just us, we may stop. But if it's a commitment to go with someone else, we go. It's in the Boomer genes, I guess. If you decide to go it alone on your diet, exercise, relaxation practices, or other pursuit, just do what you are willing to do. For example, instead of attempting to eliminate a favorite food -- then caving in -- some people find that just taking a half-portion is something they can do long term. Running is great. But if you tried it and quit, maybe walking is for you. The biggest thing with health does not seem to be what you do. It's that you do something. Whatever works for you.
The last essential for most people seems to be the realization that medicine plays more of a role in our life now than when we were twenty-somethings and indestructible. Annual check-ups could be ignored back then because they never found anything, so why bother? Unfortunately it's not like that any more. Personally, I'm into natural health and prefer to rely on reasonably-healthy food, reasonable exercise, vitamins, and the occasional aspirin to get me through almost any illness or condition. When an annual check-up showed elevated cholesterol, I told the doctor I would handle it my own way. After a full year, I had made no progress. So I gave in and now take a small simvastatin pill every day. It's not my thing at all, but in this case the expression "I'd die trying" has real meaning.
Do what you can do. Then you'll still be around to celebrate many more birthdays.
Health and fitness for seniors and boomers
Walking vacation in Madrid, Spain
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Many years ago, before Arnold Schwarzenegger became governor of California, he had just started making successful movies and had some money to invest. So, harkening back to his body-building days, he became a partner in a Santa Monica gym. I heard that he was talking with a member of the staff, out of sight from the guests, when a thin young man came in and inquired about a membership to work out at the gym. "I'm just looking for a light workout to stay in shape," the young man explained. "I don't want to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger."
Standing over to one side, Arnold shook his head and whispered to the other staff member, "He doesn't have to worry."
Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Boomer
See more of Arnold's life here
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