“To restore life to your life, to defeat aging, to regain the youth you still possess, get your body in motion.”
— from the essay Act Your Age, by George Sheehan.
That quote from George Sheehan, the essayist, leads nicely into The Fifth Attribute in this series of articles about the 12 Attributes of Human Functioning, referenced in the books The Future of the Body by Michael Murphy and The Life We are Given by Michael Murphy and George Leonard. That Fifth Attribute is Movement Abilities, those abilities of moving your muscles, joints, and body, in a way that keeps you agile and mobile. Again, I’ll relate the topic to ourselves as we get older and our desire to remain active and independent.
If you don’t move your body the way nature intends you to move, your body will deteriorate. Your muscles will atrophy and become small and weak. Your bones will become brittle and susceptible to being easily broken. Your circulation will slow and your blood will pool like water in a stagnate pond. Your breathing will become shallow and you will lapse into poor breathing habits. Your body will become bent and you will shuffle when you walk. Well, that doesn’t sound very pleasant, does it?
Unless we continue to move our bodies as we age, we will actually lose the capacity to move. Arthritis comes along and rears it’s painful head. Osteopenia, and later Osteoporosis may occur if we don’t do something for our bones, both by moving our bodies and by watching what we eat.
Keeping the joints young and the muscles strong is critical as we age. We tend to sit down whenever we have our normal age related aches and pains, rather than actually moving and stretching. Remember what Art Linkletter said: “”if you wake up without any aches or pains, then you’re probably dead.”
You can find everything you would ever want to know about the importance of moving your body, as well as how to do it, in material that has already been written in books, magazines, the internet and just about anywhere you would care to search. I’ve devoted a number of these articles to the importance of moving the body, whether as formal exercise, or as just part of your daily routine. There’s no point in repeating here what is so easily available in the library, bookstores and on the supermarket newsstands.
Just this last Sunday, the Washington Post published a great review of the book KEEP MOVING, And Other Tips and Truths About Aging by Dick Van Dyke. The reviewer, Jen Chaney, writes: “At age 40, Van Dyke recalls, he was told by a doctor that he had such severe arthritis that he probably would be in a walker within five to seven years. His response: ‘I lit into a dance, as if proving to myself I could still order my body to do a soft shoe anytime I wanted, despite the pain in my leg.’ “
Apparently, Van Dyke has also recently recovered from pneumonia and multiple lung collapses. But he says that his ability to dance has kept him young and filled with Personal Energy. Dick Van Dyke will turn 90 next ,month.
I haven’t read the book yet, but from the review, it looks like something all seniors would benefit from reading.
Several years ago, when I first started writing these Energy Bites, they were published as PDF newsletters. I used to insert appropriate quotes in the sidebars. Here are three more of those quotes that relate directly to the subject of “moving your body”:
“Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being,
while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it.”
“Inactive people give aging a bad name.” – George Sheehan
“To maintain good health, normal weight and increase the good life of radiant health, joy and happiness, the body must be exercised properly (stretching, walking, jogging, running, biking, swimming, deep breathing, good posture, etc.) and nourished wisely with healthy foods.”
– Paul C. Bragg
Keep your body moving. You’ll grow old happier, and feel young, mobile and independent, longer.
Thank you for reading.