Learning To Accommodate

Blog#156- 5/3/23

By Richard Davis

Regular physical activity has always been an important part of my life. Baseball was my go-to sport growing up and it was a rare day (weather permitting) that I was not riding my bike. If there is a day without movement I feel as though I should be guilty of some sort of crime.

As the years have passed it has become necessary to make accommodations for the constant decay of the body. But despite that decay I have always found a way to figure out how to get some sort of exercise on a regular basis.

After spending a working lifetime in healthcare and reading all kinds of medical reports it is clear to me that if you want to prevent a lot of health-related problems one of the best things you can do is to exercise on a regular basis.

Experts don’t always agree about how much exercise and what kind of exercise is best or beneficial.

Some studies indicate that people should exercise at least 45 minutes three to five times a week. Other studies say that 10 minutes a day, every day is good enough.

I remember a conversation I had with an orthopedic surgeon just before I had knee replacement surgery. He asked me how much exercise I did on a regular basis. I never felt like I was doing enough so when I told him that I was rollerblading 10-15 miles a week I felt that was not very much.

He then told me about a common answer he got to that question. He said a lot of his patients actually believed that getting up from the recliner four or five times a night while watching television, constituted a regular exercise regimen. After that I felt a lot less guilty about the amount of exercise I was getting.

Then the years passed and I could no longer rollerblade and I had to give up 20 years of playing hockey, but I knew I needed to keep getting regular exercise. That is when I started riding a bicycle 30-40 miles week. It was a good routine. In the winter I used my recumbent stationary bike to replace the outdoor activity but the scenery was not as good.

At least I kept moving and that is the key. Keep moving. I have seen too many people who found a million excuses for not moving and those were the people who suffered a lot more than the rest of us who saw the value in regular exercise.

It costs money to exercise with devices or in pools and that means that low income people have fewer options for exercise. But walking is free and one of the best forms of exercise. If walking is too difficult a person can develop a regimen of in-home exercises that don’t require equipment. The point is, that if you want to help yourself there are enough options.

Pain is an inevitable part of aging for most people and osteoarthritis in varying degrees is common.

Once you learn when to give in to the pain (rarely) and when to move past it you have learned a valuable lesson. For me, I just keep moving even when it feels like I should just sit it out for the day. It is rare when a bike ride does not make things better on many levels.

Just when I settled into a bicycle riding routine my body began to betray me in new ways and it became difficult to pedal without a lot of discomfort. It was around this time that I discovered the electric bike and it has helped me to continue to exercise, more or less, on my own terms.

What I am trying to say is that no matter what kind of physical misery life doles out there is usually a way around it, a way to keep moving. Whether it is swimming (one of the best forms of exercise) or any sport such as the new geriatric darling of pickleball does not matter. Just find a way to keep moving and your life will be better.

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