Letting It All Hang Out
Some aging boomers just let it all hang out physically. Unfortunately, many will suffer the consequences of their inaction. I have a close friend who has surrendered his body to nature and while I worry about losing him prematurely, I know there's nothing I can do about his behavior. But it does seem strange to me that people are willing to accept aging without putting up a fight.
What I know with certainty is that unless you're one of the rare people who don't require exercise to stay healthy and in shape you'll either need to have an epiphany about your health or be okay with the consequences of letting your body go to seed.
I believe everyone has a committee living inside them that influences their decisions. The committee members may change from time to time and new experiences often bring new members, but some members are permanent. Fathers, mothers, old lovers, a teacher and a myriad of other possible committee members, individually or as a group, influence our behavior. Our committee members help us make choices but we have to decide whether or not to listen to their voices. We ignore our committee at our peril.
It's likely one of our committee members wants us to get in shape and/or stay in shape, and while his or her identity may be difficult to discern, their advice should be taken, not ignored. Maybe it's those committee members that cause the nagging sensations we sometimes feel when we know we're screwing up.
A fair percentage of aging boomers go to the gym regularly, and they do so not just to look good, but more importantly to feel good, physically and emotionally. I often notice new aging gym novices making an effort to shed pounds and regain a semblance of their younger bodies. Most disappear after a few weeks, but a few determined souls continue working to regain their health.
When I watch the newcomers who stay with their programs I'm reminded of a regimen I began four decades ago after stopping smoking. I was only 30 but I couldn't jog a quarter of a mile without running out of breath and feeling pain in my entire body. The pain diminished quickly. Muscles have memory and it doesn't take long to make them strong again.
One of the reasons some aging boomers give up sex is that their bodies can't function well enough to support sexual activity. But aging boomers can change that and enjoy sex again. Exercising isn't about looking great. It's about feeling great and sex is definitely part of that.
I don't do endorsements but I want to share some information. Boomers with AARP Supplemental Medicare Insurance can join 24 Hour Fitness' Silver Sneakers program for free, which eliminates any financial concerns related to joining a gym. I mentally deduct the cost of gym membership from my insurance premiums each month. The reasons for not getting in shape can be overcome through will and strength of character. Buying new, slimmer jeans allows aging boomers to look and feel like their younger selves again.
I don't know with absolute certainty that exercising regularly will actually help me live longer but it does make me feel energized, ambitious and youthful. Short of cosmetic surgery, which I don't recommend because having lines and wrinkles is neither horrible nor ugly, there's a world of difference between someone with lines and wrinkles who's in shape and someone who isn't. Think Sean Connery and Diane Keaton, both in shape and neither is cosmetically altered.
The good news is that it's never too late to begin an exercise program and enjoy an enhanced sense of physical and mental energy. The benefits are eminently worth the effort. Listen to your committee.