Exercise is essential to our health. Essential!
This past Sunday, I had a revelation. The vacuuming robot that my children got me was busy clearing dust from the small spaces and tough angles that I once stretched my arms and bent my torso to reach. The yard man was pulling the mower across a lawn that I hadn't mowed in ages. A wonderful neighbor was out digging holes for the new trees I wanted to plant. And all of this was going on while I sat comfortably on my couch, watching a streaming church service on my laptop.
That's when it hit me. I realized that by adding more and more conveniences to my life, I was depriving myself of opportunities for healthy movement and potentially life-lengthening physical exertion.
That's a message for all of us living in this tech-heavy, convenience economy, where we have outsourced many of our everyday physical movements to robots/machines or on-demand app services that will outsource almost any task we don't feel like doing ourselves.
It is especially a message for us older folks. According to the CDC, physical activity helps:
- Maintain the ability to live independently and reduces the risk of falling and fracturing bones.
- Reduces the risk of dying from coronary heart disease and of developing high blood pressure, colon cancer, and diabetes.
- Can help reduce blood pressure in some people with hypertension.
- Helps people with chronic, disabling conditions improve their stamina and muscle strength.
- Reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression and fosters improvements in mood and feelings of well-being.
- Helps maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints.Helps control joint swelling and pain associated with arthritis.
And you know what else the CDC said? "Among adults aged 65 years and older, walking and gardening or yard work are, by far, the most popular physical activities."
Did you catch that? You don't have to mow an acre of grass or throw out your vacuuming robots out in order to get active. But with conscious and creative effort, you can stop giving away all your daily opportunities for healthy movement and physical activity.
You can go for a bike ride or for a walk in the park, schedule a night of dancing with friends or even just clean one room in your house per week. You can also plant and maintain a vegetable garden. Wink wink.
Gardening is good for your health in more ways than one!