Health is wealth. The kind of wealth you take for granted if you have been reasonably healthy throughout life. The kind of wealth you didn’t realize you possessed until it is taken away from you.
What is the purpose of scrimping and saving throughout life, of putting off fantastic experiences, of delaying travel and life’s little luxuries, if you finally retire and the state of your health doesn’t allow you to enjoy any of the above?
Most of us no longer physically labour throughout our lives. That can be a good thing as we can arrive at retirement without the damage and aches from a lifetime of punishing our bodies each day. But it is often a bad thing as we enter retirement from a lifetime of being mostly sedentary at work, and then ending our days flopped out on the couch. Our muscles atrophy from lack of use, and our range of motion becomes increasingly limited.
I am fighting this right now. Since February I have been receiving physiotherapy and doing daily homework exercises to regain full use of my left shoulder. I am happy to report, that after much hard work, I have regained what seems to me to be full (albeit still somewhat painful at times) range of motion with my left arm. YES!
I am also working on regaining at least some of my lost youthful flexibility and balance through the practice of yoga and barre exercises. And I am currently training for my fifth (or is it sixth? Jeez, I can’t keep track…) half-marathon event, taking place in June. I plan to mostly walk this one. However, I recently started incorporating some sprinting intervals in my training walks thanks to OKs from my docs (post-TIAs, described here and here) and this article: The Best Exercise for Aging Muscles. So I might be able to break up my 21.1K walk with some periodic running time by the time the Niagara Falls Women’s Half Marathon rolls around.
Cautionary Tale: my maternal grandmother had decided in her 70s, that after a lifetime of raising kids and keeping house, she was now a retired lady of leisure and therefore finished with cooking and house-cleaning. She entered a retirement facility where everything was looked after for her, and guess what happened? In a very short time she was no longer physically capable of doing much of anything. And her mind deteriorated along with her body.
This, my friends, will not be me if I can at all help it.