Get a move on! Keeping active keeps us oldsters alive
Silver in your hair, gold in your teeth, and lead in your buttocks— that’s the “Metallic Age.” As a middle-aged man, I have gold in my teeth. Before I highlighted my hair blond, I didn’t have one strand of silver hair (though my receding hairline makes my forehead look like the David Lee Roth). My derriere? I have buns of steel from skating for silver.
Skating for silver? Shouldn’t I be skating for gold? In just the past week, I passed some ice skating tests specifically designed for adults. I just passed my pre-bronze and bronze level “Moves in the Field” (i.e. doing figures, footwork, skating all over the place). I also passed my first of three silver-level dances, the Rocker Foxtrot. So now I’ll train to test a silver-level moves in the field as well as two more silver-level dances to move up to pre-gold dances.
What’s the point?
Well, as in karate in which folks try to achieve a black belt, I’m trying to achieve the highest level of skating that I can as an adult. The United States Figure Skating Association has been kind enough to set a course for adults to experience testing and competition that kids get to enjoy. So I’m thrilled right now to skate for silver— even though my hair isn’t– yet.
There are many adult programs to get hearts pumping and keep bodies limber and strong. I have patients who play on adult leagues in volleyball, softball, soccer, bowling, basketball, ice hockey, and tennis. My brother-in-law plays in adult United States Tennis Association matches, and he’s, like, ancient. One senior citizen I know is blind in one eye and still beats everyone on the court like Martina Navratilova in her heyday.
I have to say that more and more of my patients are inactive, especially the folks 30-65 years of age. Though I just heard on the radio the #1 excuse for not exercising is injury, I believe the #1 reason is time— or determination.
There are more soccer moms and hockey dads than there are Hollywood stars hooked on prescription medicines. I only know of one soccer mom who actually plays soccer and one dad who both plays and coaches soccer and baseball. The rest of the parents get hemorrhoids from sitting and screaming too much in the bleachers. (I think coaches should mandate parents participate in the exercises. It could be a bonding experience, and the parents might just get too tired to yell at the refs and the kids!)
More soon-to-be senior citizens are trying to become active by walking, doing yoga, or using exercise equipment because they don’t want to become invalids during their golden years. For some, the horse is out of the barn (i.e. beat-up bodies). Obesity can worsen arthritis (especially in the knees), cause pulmonary hypertension from sleep apnea (so climbing a molehill will seem like a mountain due to shortness of breath), and lead to heart diseases such as congestive heart failure.
I find participating in sports gives me a goal and makes it fun to stay in shape. Also as an adult, I don’t need a gold medal to feel what I’m doing is worthwhile. Remember that right now, I’m skating for silver!
Dr. Hook cracks a joke or two, but he’s a respected physician with an interesting website, drjohnhong.com. After seven fun years with the Hook, this is his last column.Read more on: farewell column