Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Aging Gracefully

Just what does it mean to age gracefully? More aches, illnesses lasting longer, and less patience. Just how does one do that gracefully? Well, one way may be to continue exercising! I know….I know…..some of you are so SICK of hearing about exercising!!! Well, get over it! Authors Chris Crowley and Henry Lodge, M.D. from the book ‘Younger Next Year’ say,...... “Decay – that’s the message the brain sends to your body after around age 40 if you are sedentary……Conversely, the latest science has found that exercise overrides the “decay” signal by sending powerful chemical messages to the brain and body to grow and stay strong. Aging is inevitable, but researchers say that exercise – along with other lifestyle factors – slows down the degeneration of the body and brain so that you can enjoy an active and healthy life well into your eighties or beyond." (O.K. We need to stop right here and give God a SERIOUS Shout Out! Isn't He awesome?! Adam and Eve 'blow it' for us all in the garden of Eden so now we have these decaying bodies. BUT GOD gives us a way to override the 'decay' signal! Well, I'll just praise Him myself then! HALLELUJAH!!!.....but I digress...) SO,if you are 40 or older you just OUGHT to be running to your closet and putting on your tennis shoes right about NOW ! Ready, Get Set, Go! How many more studies or quotes do you need to read before you ‘get it’? And, if you are not 40 yet, don’t even think you will WAIT until you turn 40 to choose a regular exercise regimen! Not! I think that is highly unlikely! Look, I know it’s not always easy. Take this morning for example. Oh, my GOSH, was it hard for me to get up for my walk! First of all, when I hit the snooze button on the alarm I noticed how cold my house was! Goodness! It felt like ice! Yet, it was so warm under the covers! I just couldn’t get up! Then, when I hit the snooze button a second time, I noticed how GO-OO-OOD my bed felt! Must I get up, I thought?! Can’t I skip today’s exercising, I thought?! But, finally, after hitting the snooze button a third time, I got up. As a result of those delays, since I do my morning devotional before I do anything else, my 60 minute power walk had to be reduced to a 45 minute power walk so that I could get to work on time, but it was still worth it, because believe it or not, it wasn’t as cold outside as it was in my house, and, before I knew it I was having a good ‘ole time on my walk! I was mad at myself for hitting the snooze button three times! I wanted my 15 additional minutes! What a great way to start the day! See! It’s always better once you just get up and do it! Isn’t that what we tell our children?! So, what do you need to jump-start your exercise regimen? We simply don’t have any more excuses for why we don't exercise because we now have too many choices! So, find what works for you and choose to age gracefully – no matter how old you are.

Are You Unequally Yoked?

Many people think that the scripture 2 Corinthians 6:14, which begins with, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers..”, is advice strictly for those who are getting married. Of course, it is in reference to all relationships, and now we see we can also apply it to our friends and their beliefs about their health. Studies have proved that often we have a tendency to be as healthy or as unhealthy as our friends and family members. “A study of more than 12,000 people found out that when a person becomes obese, their friends are 57 percent more likely to also put on weight. Their brothers and sisters have a 40 per cent increased risk of becoming obese and their husband or wife a 37 per cent greater risk.” Another study proved, “Obesity can spread from person to person much like a virus, according to researchers. When one person gains weight close friends tend to gain weight too….You change your idea of what is an acceptable body type by looking at the people around you.”…….Hmmm…Of course this does not excuse us when we give in to every whim and fancy by overeating and/or eating foods that we know are not good for us. Neither does it excuse us when we choose to be sedentary rather than active. I still believe that what we choose to put in our mouths and whether we choose to move our bodies more than anything else determines whether or not we enjoy a healthy lifestyle. But, I do think these studies have some merit. I do think it’s much easier to stop and pick up a dozen of donuts when you know you have people to help you eat them! If no one in your inner circle is going to admonish your poor choices and encourage you to make better ones, I suppose the only recourse is a life of eating poorly and being sedentary. So, let’s ask ourselves some questions. First of all, what do my friends and family members, those people whose perceptions I value and think are important; what do they really think about being healthy and fit? Is it important to them that they be healthy or do they just say that and then eat anything they want and rarely exercise? Secondly, do I allow their behavior to influence my choices when I know what is right for me may not be what they advise? Though I am not encouraging you to fire your friends and get some new ones, it may be time to assess just what kind of influence your family and friends are having on you. Your health is worth that much; isn’t it?