Water or beer?

A defining difference, physically, between youth and their elders is the amount of time spent playing. Several reports detail Americans’ failure to exercise sufficiently. One I read is a 2002 CNN report, “While 62 percent of adults had some physical activity in their leisure time, only three of 10 exercised regularly, the report said.

“It defined regular physical activity as light-to-moderate exercise at least five times a week for at least a half-hour, or vigorous activity at least three times a week for a minimum of 20 minutes.

“Experts say lack of physical activity contributes to some 300,000 deaths each year in the United States caused by heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other conditions.”

Debbie and I are exercising at least 30 minutes every day. Our minimum is walking the perimeter of the park three times, for almost four miles total. But some days, like today, Debbie did aerobics for an hour. I played two sets of tennis. We both played shuffleboard two hours and a half. Debbie does either line dancing or aerobics almost every day.

We want to maintain our current regimen. According to a more recent report, “Only 17% in Gallup’s 2007 Health and Healthcare survey both lift weights at least twice a week and engage in vigorous exercise three times a week or in moderate exercise five times a week.” That is only 1 in 6 people meeting the “standard medical recommendations for physical fitness.”

I’m glad to get back on the tennis court after three weeks away from it. I broke a string and took awhile to restring the racquet. Getting back on the court was wonderful and I’ll look forward to a rematch. And what a great way to exercise. It’s a lot more fun than weight-lifting. Each has its own place, though.

I’m trying to weekly include weight training, golf, tennis, and walking. I would love to include swimming but this pool is 88 degrees F and usually a little crowded. It just doesn’t attract me.

This may be the highest activity level I’ve had in over thirty years, although in the 90’s I was cycling hard eight hours weekly and absolutely burning through the calories. The challenge for me is how I’ll commit to exercising when we leave this leisurely lifestyle in a resort park. Exercise is pretty darned easy here, even for an older grownup.

We’re not trying to be kids — it wasn’t so great. But we liked the exercised feeling, and we liked the strength and flexibility. So why give those up if unnecessary? Let’s see how this works out. As a friend said a long time ago, what else are you doing?

[The other difference between elders and youth may be the after-exercise beverage. What do you think, water or beer?]

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2 responses to “Water or beer?

  1. Great column! While we were there I rode a bicycle for the first time in more than 40 years. We even went up on the rim of Okeechobee Lake for a 7 mile ride. It was fun, great exercise, more than I usually do. I’m considering adding fold up bike’s to our camping gear. We’ve found when camping there is time for walking, or riding even paddling a kayak! It’s the working that interfere’s with one’s exercise schedule! I keep beating the full timer drum!!

  2. You summarized it well, Barry, when you said, “fun, great exercise, more than I usually do.” We’re fortunate, in this park, to have most all the exercise amenities we could want. If we don’t exercise regularly here we won’t do it anywhere. It doesn’t even take self-discipline here — it’s just part of the lifestyle. Our challenge is how to continue anything like this charged-up level of exercise when we return to the road. That will take some guts and will power.

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