It’s hard for me to recognize that I am getting older. In my mind, I’m without age. Photographs and mirrors keep me honest, but it’s how much I love to move now, at my age, that has turned this thing called aging on it’s head. Take for example when Vic and Patty called the other night: they wanted to go out for dinner. I asked if they would opt for ping pong instead. I find myself tweaking an invitation for a drink in favor of meeting for a walk. A walk? Really?
I’m all about movement not so much about eating and drinking to excess. This is a change from my younger self who wasn’t concerned about treating ‘our’ body right or with much respect. It’s a good change. Learning to honor thy body came mostly from a state of gratitude and a desire to do my part to keep living as long as possible. My goal is to live to 100. That’s a long haul. Clearly changes were in order!
Turns out, lots of boomers are feeling the same way. One of the most frequent mantras I hear now is ‘gotta get my steps in, gotta get my steps in’ referring to the 10,000 steps that Fitbit set as a minimum daily requirement. I ran into Steve and Ana on 23rd Street recently after exiting a movie. They hadn’t quite made it to 10K that day. So there they were. Out walking close to midnight. The younger me wanted to laugh thinking how walking is a far cry from the old days of nightclubs, dance beats and staggering around at midnight. Strangely, I welcome and even like this new age and activity!
My personal motivation to take in ten thousand steps a day goes beyond my Fitbit chart. My mom died of coronary heart disease at 61, leaving me to raise my two young children without the benefit of their maternal grandmother. As I approach that number, I’m acutely aware and sensitive that I want to live much longer than my mother. Many things are out of my control, who knows what particular DNA strand is working against me. Staying fit is something I can do. Maybe it will be the magic pill that fuels me to a ripe old age.
Marked by family history, I made my first appointment with a cardiologist at fifty. I was being proactive because I would defeat heart disease. The doctor did a battery of tests which revealed some plaque accumulation in my arteries. Doctors now make the assumption that their patients will live to be 100 years old. The doctor put me on Lipitor and I started to go to the gym. According to him, those tracks have to transport my blood through my body for another five decades!
I’m not perfect. I fall off the exercise wagon every now and then, maybe sometimes more than I prefer to admit. And sometimes the walk we take is to the bar for those drinks! But I’m better and faster at getting back to my ten thousand steps these days. I know it’s important.Ten thousand steps, walks not drinks with friends, the right outlook, (a good doc and a bottle of Lipitor) makes fifty feel like the new thirty or at least turns sixty into a celebration. An apple a day may have kept the doctor away, but 10K on your feet keeps your heart in beat!