Exercise and Aging: Mix it Up
I love to walk. Even with some pain from arthritis in one hip, and a knee that hasn’t been as strong as I’d like it to be for a long time, I can walk for hours up and down hills, through towns and woods, across bridges and floating pathways, anywhere. It is especially good to be outdoors. Even though I love to shop, walking in the mall is not exercise to me, nor is it pleasurable.
My husband has been a tennis player and a skier his whole adult life. I do neither. But what we have in common is that we’ve worn our particular exercise groove pretty deep. I walk, he hits a ball, or weaves gracefully (I’m told) down mountains. For about 10 years I also did yoga until the aforementioned hip started to scream at me. Occasionally I swim. This also comes naturally to me as I swam in competition in my growing up years.
What brain research tells us, however, is that to remain bright AND vigorous in older age, we need to mix it up. Continuing to walk is fine, but I also need to dance, row, bike, or play tennis in order to keep my brain active. My husband occasionally walks with me, and even more occasionally did yoga with me. Now we need to find something together or apart that we love to do, don’t mind looking incompetent at doing for awhile, and add it to our exercise repertoire.
In this moment, the thing that comes to mind is dancing. We love to dance with each other. I fell in love with him on the dance floor (and in the movies) as his grace is remarkable and somehow touching to me. Last night we watched Jessica Biel and Colin Firth do the tango in the movie, Easy Virtue. I want to do this with my husband.