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Wondering how my body will react to the work spring brings

April 7, 2009

Each year come springtime I have the same feeling.  This years work will be more overwhelming than the year before.  For no other reason than being a year older.  I remember when we first moved to the property next to my in-laws, my 80 year old father-in-law told me, why do you move so fast all the time.

I told him, because I can and I have a lot to do.  He laughed and told me, you always will have a lot to do, but you won’t always have the energy. Save some for when you are my age.  

Now 23 years later I still try to move as fast.  I just cannot do it for as long a period of time.  I take more breaks then when I was 32.  

The past few weeks we have been clearing a hillside.  The last time we cleared it I was 35,  so it had 20 years of Forsythia, grape vines, small trees and tons of sticker bushes.  I needed to climb, slide, twist and turn, yank on vines and do a lot of very hard work.  See the embankment photo below.

The embankment almost cleared

At age 55, I realize that I cannot do what I used to be able to. However I stretch, do leg exercises to keep my balance good. I do not attend a gym however I keep active with yard work, Tai Chi and my own fitness program that I teach  to residents of senior living centers.

This year, I was surprised that I was able to clean the embankment. I only worked for 1 – 2 hours at a shot. My shoulders got sore and my hands ached from the vine pulling. My ankles hurt from supporting my balance on a steep hillside at odd angles. Overall, my body let me know I was older.

Yet, because I keep an attitude of play, and went at the project with a lets see how much I can do today approach, it got done. We have lots more to do, as a result of having a yard in the woods. Our property is a never ending project, just to maintain it looking halfway decent.

How long will I be able to do it?

Each spring is a new challenge. If I continue to keep fit, stay on my exercise program and eat well, perhaps I’ll be able to tell some other young person, save some of your energy so you can keep up with me, or what I do at 85.

How do you keep fit enough to maintain the activities you enjoy? Tell me your story!

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