Let’s face it. We are all getting older. As a child, we could not wait to be older so we could have the freedom to do whatever we wanted. As children, we had the physical and mental energy to accomplish anything we set our minds to.
As adults, we don’t have to ask anyone for permission to do things, but our ability to accomplish our goals is tied to our physical and mental stamina. Unless we make the effort to nourish our bodies with good food, positive thinking, and proper exercise and rest, our ability to perform at our peak physical and mental levels will decline.
Just because it seems common to get stiffer, have more aches and pains and less mental clarity with aging, this is not normal. In many cultures, physical and mental performance only starts to decline in much later years.
In current Western culture, sitting at a desk, driving for long hours in a car, and using our downtime staring at a screen is causing serious health effects. One study found that almost 20% of people aged 50-64 found it difficult to walk one-quarter mile, with pain and shortness of breath being a common complaint. One-quarter mile???? This is alarming.
While moving less can contribute to stiffness, pain, and decreased flexibility over time, it can also contribute to obesity, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease as well as mental health decline. Moving more improves the circulation of blood and oxygen to key areas of the brain that regulate mood, concentration, and memory and the ability to handle stress.
Moving in a variety of ways with varying intensity is also important for strength, joint stability, balance, and cardiovascular health. While taking a daily walk is a great way to start, there are many other movement activities you can do such as yoga, swimming, pickleball, Tai Chi, resistance training, and light to moderate weight lifting.
It’s never too late to change your habits. Consult with your medical provider and remember to start off slowly. Consistency is key, so find a variety of activities either solo or in a group setting that you enjoy so you will continue week after week and year after year.
If you are not sure where to get started for movement therapy, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.