Moving Is The Thing
MOVING IS THE THING
I wanted to make sure that everyone understands that just because I love to run doesn't mean I think it is right for everyone. The point I'm trying to make is that an appropriate level of physical activity is important for everyone for good health, mind and body. We all need to find what makes us feel like a kid again and do it often. Start by thinking about what activities you loved as a child. I loved to run. I can remember my mom saying all the time, "Cheryl has two speeds, running and asleep." I have not changed. I would rather run than walk most of the time. When I run I feel like I leave all my troubles behind in the wind. I seem to think more clearly while running. I plan what I want to do for the day, I think of fun conversations and about almost anything positive. It is meditation for me.
How much I run and how often varies day-to-day or month-to-month. And that is part of the benefit. When you played as child, you didn't do the same thing every day, you mixed up because it was about having fun not forcing yourself to get a workout in. Right now I am trail running every other day for 2 to 2.5 miles. It is an amazing workout because it is rugged terrain, and all up and down hills. Last year I was really in to 5K competitive running. Who knows what I will be doing next year but I hope it will involve running.
For the over fifty crowd, common sense and, increasingly, scientific research suggests that constant use will retain our physical capabilities and form. Once lost, however, it may be difficult or impossible to regain former capabilities. The latest research suggests that disuse in those of us over 50 leads to more-or-less permanent losses in the number of nerve connections. There is good news in this otherwise depressing fact. First, if you keep at it, your ability to play tennis, lift weights, cycle, and so forth can be retained with little (sometimes no) loss of nerve connections, although with increasing age you may need to spend more time on your activities. Constantly used and challenged nerve connections do not die. In fact, they continue to grow and drive muscle growth and body tone, no matter what your age. Notice the "challenged" part of the equation. Changing even a small part of your activities builds new connections. For example, if tennis is your go-to activity, play doubles and singles, switch between one and two-handed form, try a few net shots with the other hand, play at night and in the day, learn some similar sports. Second, recent research suggests that there may be a way to beat the odds and actually regain skills you lost through disuse. How to do this will be a topic in a future post.
That's all I have for today! So go out and play!