My wife and I were at a dinner party Sunday night, and the conversations were mostly about our doctors and surgeries and so forth. It seems that most of what older people do at events like that are talk about doctors, surgeries, and all the things that are wrong with each of us. It seems like those things are all we have in common. Politics are off the table in most cases. The dinner party was a church group, so religion and spirituality came up a little bit but most of the conversation was about health and health related items.
We did talk a little bit about what we were all doing to try and maintain our health, but I was the only one who mentioned exercise. Much of the conversation was about what medications we are “taking” to “cure” us of our physical ailments. Fortunately the company was great and it was a pleasant evening. But talking about our ailments seems to be the norm rather than the exception when older people get together socially.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we would talk about how we just learned how to surf, or the great things we participated in on our last trip to wherever. Yes, we do travel, and yes we do talk about it, but the conversation somehow seems to revert back to how we had to go to the emergency room, or how we ran out of our meds. I say that just a little bit tongue in cheek but our recent medical histories and concerns seem to pop up in just about any social setting with seniors.
I don’t mean to make all that sound so flippant, but I also want it to be a message that as we age, we can actually do something about the aches and pains and lifestyle illnesses and find something more positive to talk about at social events.
Oh yes, I’m guilty. It seems that when I meet up with any my friends, we seem to start right in on talking about the aches and pains of aging. Even when I go to the gym, we seem to talk about our shoulder or back pains and how they affect us during exercise. The most common complaint at the gym is shoulder operations, either past or upcoming.
My wife is much the same. When she gets together with the girls, they too talk about their aches and pains, what medications they are on and what their latest ailments are.
Aches and pains, illness and operations, all seem to be the common denominator of our social gatherings.
So what’s the point of all this? Well, first some of the aches and pains are caused by moving the wrong way, or an injury of the muscle or joints. But mostly the aches and pains are from not moving much at all.
Is exercise the answer? Partly yes, partly no. It certainly makes sense that there would be fewer injuries to muscles, tendons and joints if those parts were moved and exercised more. But even when we do exercise, we can move something the wrong way, or overdo a movement, or do something that causes pain instead of alleviate it. But exercise can help prevent the problem in the first place. Just be careful starting out and go slow. A good warm up with any exercise is important to help avoid injury. If you are starting a new program of exercise, listen closely to your body; it usually will tell you to slow down or stop. Just heed what your body tells you.
Wouldn’t it be nice that at the next dinner party, we could talk about how we are learning to do something really new, or how we just learned to surf, or that we reached some sort of interim goal that we set for ourselves. Maybe we can even talk about how we’ve started to exercise.
Thanks for reading.