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It all goes downhill so fast…

Posted in Crazy Wisdom,Project 40 on Thursday, July 28, 2011 at 2:58 pm by flerly.

Use it or lose it:  Pretty common adage. How about Keep It Simple, Stupid? You’d think these were common sense. It’s interesting to me that beyond these adages, as much as I have made an effort to learn about staying healthy and being fit, actually understanding how things work and what I should and shouldn’t do, how little I actually spend the time to practice that knowledge. As such I’m never really surprised when I try something on and it fits tight again because I know the score.

For those who really don’t seem to “get it” as to how to be healthy, there can be a bit of shock when things don’t work out.  I probably shouldn’t be surprised when I hear about things they’re trying or how they’ve hurt themselves, and this is usually either endeavors of my mother or of my aunts as related by my mother. They remind me that I’m not getting any younger — hello “Project 40” is running out of time. Mostly, though, they are a  “wake-up call” to remind me that staying healthy really isn’t that hard, and the cost of poor health and injury can be high.

Eat consciously. Move more. Stretch. Sleep.

That is not to say “overcomplicate things with diet or calorie plans, logging, or stressing out about every bite, and then beat yourself up everytime you go off plan until you just give up and wallow in chocolate.”

Nor is that to say “rely on workout classes that you might ditch is work is hectic or you just don’t find the right workout outfit that you feel presentable in that day.”

Mostly, though, don’t try to go from zero to sixty in 4 seconds and injure something. Every step can be a positive step, and you just need to take one step at a time. Stop worrying about doing a certain thing, and just do something. Then do something else.  Everyday, just a little something. Soon you’ll feel like a little something more.

Keep it simple, but keep it going…or else

I know all this seems pretty general, but I’ve thought of all this because of mom’s latest injury. She’s made great strides in the past couple years at changing her diet and exercising more, even if it was motivated by lack of money and boredom. She’s lost a lot of weight and lowered her blood pressure a lot with walking. Fairly recently, however, she’s been “limping” because of a problem with her heel. A doctor visit told her it was probably a bone spur and to keep off it when she could.  Undaunted by this, she went from walking her trail to using the recumbant bike in front of the tv — no weight on the heel and perfectly comfortable to do.

The problem is, in all this, she wasn’t really eating great nutritionally — though she would sometimes take vitamins when she could afford them. Mostly her meals were fruit & vegetables, bread, and sweets she’d bake herself. Occasionally she’d buy meat, but mostly when she craved meat she went for fast food — fried fish, french fried, hot dogs, and big greasy burgers. Again, though, rare due to fundage, but even so, eating bad is actually pretty cheap.

Also, in all this, she wasn’t really stretching. At her age she’d already lost a lot of flexibility, but once the trail walking had to stop, she wasn’t getting much a stretch on the recumbant bike at all. She has always done all her own yardwork, which is a lot in her yard, not just to mow but plenty of trees and shrubs to trim and maintain — or cut down, cut up and haul off. The woman uses a chainsaw without a second thought.

Recently, though, her lack of flexibility caught up with her as she managed to rupture her Achilles tendon on a simple walk to the mailbox. It snapped and her foot just stopped working. No pain, but no walking either. Now she’s in a restrictive boot, waiting to see if she has to have surgery or whether it will heal on its own. From my reading about this type of injury, it is common in both weekend athletes and the elderly, and can sideline you up to six months. Recovery has to include flexibility exercises to build up a range of motion again.

The whole concept of this type of injury was foreign to mom. Strangely, she’s never even broken a bone to have to be in a cast before, though she was my mother and had to deal with mine as a child. Wearing the boot allows her to walk, if slowly, so she’s good to go on with her business as usual. She’s already driving with it on the gas pedal and using the riding lawn mower. The fact that there is no pain makes her think it can’t be that bad of an injury — her foot just won’t work so it’s frustrating.

There’s a lesson here somewhere.

Thus it can all just go downhill so fast. Let things slide, especially as you get older, and the harder you may have to work to regain that ground. And if you stay in that habit, you may end up with an injury that really sidelines you. And then you’ve just lost that much more ground.

Don’t wait for tomorrow. Do something for yourself and your health today. Right now, even. Or else I hope you were reading this while you walked at your treadmill desk!

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