Scenery on the Pan American Highway north of Lima, Peru.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Huaraz, Peru.

Where are they going next? Not sure yet! We return to Canada November 3rd.

Monday, September 23, 2019

If you are not enjoying yourself, then what's the point?

When Ruth and I were out on our 5 km (3 mile) powerwalk this morning, we were discussing the things that people do with the hope of extending their life. Many of these things are related to doctor's visits where they are trying to fix a problem that could have been avoided in the first place.

That's exactly why we exercise and keep active.

I look at the people in the facility where Ruth's father is now living. In my mind, it would not be enjoyable, and I certainly do not want to live like that. Most of them use walkers to get around.

It's a proven fact that regular exercise is beneficial to your health, and that older adults can benefit from a daily exercise program as much as someone who is younger. And it's never too late to start!

Obviously this only works with people who are otherwise generally healthy. And, you have no idea what hand life is going to deal you. Even with regular exercise, you could get hit by a bus or struck down with an incurable disease tomorrow. Your own genetics mean a lot, and they don't have all this stuff figured out yet.

But the reason we do regular strenuous exercise is to enjoy an active life when we are seniors. At 57 years old, we figure we still have a good 30 years ahead of us. And we want to enjoy ourselves as much as possible, even when we are at the later stages of that time period.

Regular daily exercise that increases your breathing and your heart rate and stimulates muscles has many benefits. Especially for seniors.
  • Staying strong means staying independent
  • Exercise and activity fights depression
  • It gives you more energy
  • It makes you sleep better
  • Stronger muscles mean improved balance
All of these things mean a better quality of life as you age. And a better quality of life means more enjoyment. Because if you are not enjoying yourself, then what's the point? 

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17 comments:

  1. I am a firm believer that exercise and diet are critical factors in longer good life.

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  2. You are so right. People age faster when they are less mobile, when they have health issues. I have had to be slothlike with Buddy these last 10 days as he depends on me for 24/7 care until today - but - it has been killing me! Walking is simply the easiest thing anyone can do to take care of themselves. I keep telling my Mom the less she moves around the fast she is headed for a seniors facility.

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    1. And this is what we have really noticed with my father over the last few years and his mobility has really deteriorated in just the last two years.

      Good to hear that Buddy is doing so much better. :-)

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  3. After being exceedingly active for my entire life I had a major health setback this summer, hyperparathyroidism. For 2 months I was confined to bed waiting surgery, the only cure. 5 weeks post surgery the "use it or loose it" phrase finally means something personal. All my muscles and tendons have lost their strength and elasticity. Working on this by daily 4-5 mile walks and PT, it will be a long road to recovery.

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    1. So sorry to hear about this, we are glad that you are now recovering and working on getting those muscles and tendons back into shape.

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  4. I couldn't agree more! Bad luck can strike anyone, like my husband who is getting over a bout with Shingles currently, but science certainly supports the fact that staying active can prevent many diseases, including depression. We try to be the poster "children" for active retirement, as we walk, bicycle, lift weights, and I do yoga as well. These choices have kept us slender and vigorous as we grow older, and we plan to stick with them for a good long time. We also follow a diet heavy in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fish, don't eat much meat, and keep sweets to a dull roar. It all helps!

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    1. Yep, doesn't matter how much exercise you do and how much good eating you do, some things just happen. However, by doing these things you certainly have a better chance of staying healthy, or having a quicker recovery time if you do get sick.

      So sorry to hear about that bout of Shingles, we have heard that it can be really nasty. Kevin's mother had a bad bout a few years ago and it took a very long time to disappear. I hope he is feeling better real soon.

      You both sound just like us and doing it for the exact same reasons. Keep on doing what you are doing. :-)

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  5. I couldn't imagine our lives without exercise. We have to replace the activities that human beings used to do, bending and stooping for food, stretching and reaching for food and climbing to get around. We go to the gym, do cardio and walk a lot (10 kms a day). Walking the dog and talking to neighbors while you have a smoke is not exercise for you or the dog :)

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    1. We can't imagine our lives without some form of exercise either, although we know we need to work harder on the strength and flexibility part of this. We do really well in the aerobics part of it though.

      You and Juan have always been good at staying fit and active. :-)

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  6. Plus if you exercise regularly, you can eat burritos and drink beer and still keep your schoolboy figure (real reason).

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  7. Totally agree, exercise and a good health diet (80%) of the time is our mantra. Even then if your genetics and other things kick back you are in the best position to fight it. Happiness is the key to a good mental outlook so doing what makes you happy has to be the best.

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    1. You are right, there is not a heck of a lot you can do about the genetics part of your health except to be aware of it and do everything you can to ward it off. Happiness is a huge part of the equation, and a lot of that comes from good food, exercise and a good frame of mind and do things that make you happy. :-)

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  8. We are physically active because we LIKE it - it's a fantastic way to live life. The fact that it's good for us is almost an aside at this point. My favorite way to spend any day is to be outside and in motion for a good chunk of it. Today, in fact, I'm heading out shortly to go paddle boarding. ☺

    And while I do certainly appreciate all the side benefits being active provides, even if it provided 'zero' benefits we'd still carry on. I actually am finding the mental benefits of being active as we approach/enter our 60's to be the more critical component these days!

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    1. We totally feel the same way! :-) There is so much that we would never have seen if we didn't like walking, hiking and biking so much because some of the things we have seen can't be seen any other way.

      Yes, keeping the brain active is just as important as keeping the body active. We love playing games together, doing puzzles such as Sudoku, even doing all the research for our upcoming travels works the brain, and reading always helps too.

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  9. Exercise is certainly important, but diet appears to be even more important for those wanting a long and healthy life. See this video for example: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/how-much-should-you-exercise/. This video is also interesting: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/is-it-the-diet-the-exercise-or-both/.

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    1. Yes, diet is certainly important. But, diet alone will not allow you to maintain muscle strength and activity level.

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