DYING TRYING

helen-on-a-bike

There is a reason I am on this bike for the first time after almost 15 years. Research says that if I really want to be a, ‘super ager,’ I NEED to feel pain. I need to get out of my, ‘comfort zone’ and really tax my mind & body. Otherwise, my brain tissue will merely be ‘thin’ and that is NOT good. Thank you science and the rest of you folks who are forever changing your mind about we should and shouldn’t do.

A recent article in the New York Times says that, “In the United States, we are obsessed with happiness. But as people get older, research shows, they cultivate happiness by avoiding unpleasant situations. This is sometimes a good idea, as when you avoid a rude neighbor. But if people consistently sidestep the discomfort of mental effort or physical exertion, this restraint can be detrimental to the brain. All brain tissue gets thinner from disuse. If you don’t use it, you lose it.”

Dr. Anna Lembke, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Stanford has just thrown her hat in the ring, as well. She says that 100 years ago, doctors believed that some pain had a, ‘salutatory effect on the body, providing both a physiologic and spiritual benefit.’ However, in the time since, pain has become, “something to avoid at all costs.” Thus, the over-prescription of painkillers and the ensuing opioid epidemic.

Quite frankly, I thought I was doing OK by swimming a half-mile a day, playing a few games of competitive tennis, practicing my scales on piano and guitar and writing. Apparently not. Apparently, I am supposed to PUSH myself…not merely MOVE myself. Well, thank you very much, science.

Kudos also to my sister-in-law, Cathy, who keeps me posted on all things Alzheimer’s and aging! So, dear girl, this blog is for you. Thank you for personally whipping me into shape whether I like it or not. Right now, my knees are aching, I am winded from the hills and quite frankly, if this will help me be a ‘super-ager,’ I shall be indebted to you. If not, at least I died trying!!

NO ALZHEIMER’S IN THIS GYM!

     As I headed towards the YMCA pool this morning, all the ‘old’ ladies were coming out of their water aerobics class.  One said, “Hey!  How did that Alzheimer’s talk go?”  At the mere mention of the “A” word, another piped up:  “Girls if you don’t wanna get Alzheimer’s, throw out ALL of your aluminum pans.”  As another removed her chlorine-chewed, flowered bathing suit, she chimed in:  AND don’t eat junk, just lots of fruits and vegetables.”  “I hate salad,” muttered someone in the distance.  “Oh, and NO hydrogenated fat.  It clogs your arteries.”  “Got that,” added another pulling on her pink velour sweatpants.  “But the BEST thing we can do is exercise.  That’s why I’m here 3 times a week.”  A locker slammed to my right.  “3 times a week?” said the semi-naked, locker slammer.  “I read you have to exercise EVERYday.”  Indeed.  But ALL of them were also ‘exercising’ what science has now proven:  increasing our social networks & contact with others will slow or even stave off the progress of the disease.  (http://www.helen-hudson.com)