Lately, I’ve been around a lot of 80 and 90 year olds what with my mother and mother-in-law both moving into assisted-living type developments. No surprise that there are a lot of walkers and wheel-chairs all around. Seniors have trouble with balance and three times when I visited my mother, someone fell down nearly in front of me. Growing old is not a pretty sight.
And I began to wonder — is this going to happen to me? Am I going to need a walker and be hardly able to walk when I’m 80, if of course I manage to live that long?
No, I think, not me. No way. I’m probably kidding myself but here’s the thing — my mother and mother-in-law did virtually no exercise in their lives. Neither have ever belonged to a health club. They walked a little and that was it. Not that they are that different than anyone else in their generation — they might have been the greatest generation but they were not the greatest exercising generation. That would be us — me and my fellow baby boomers.
I’ve been exercising fairly strenuously since I’ve been 35. I can’t count the number of health clubs I’ve belonged to, the number of yoga classes I’ve attended, the miles I’ve traveled (or not) in spinning classes. But will any of it matter?
Jeez, I hope so or what a waste of time. Yes, exercise makes me feel good and I’d probably weigh a lot more if I didn’t do a lick of it but, damn it, I want it to make me live longer too? Is that asking too much? Of course, if disease gets you, you’re out of luck no matter how much you exercise.
The thing is, this generation has done way more exercise than our parents. In fact, I think it would make a fascinating study (I’m sure someone is already on this) to see if we exercising baby boomers live longer than our forebears, if exercise matters. We will see, won’t we? I only hope I’m standing upright when I have this knowledge.