Learning to take it slow and steady

Staying active as a senior can be tough. Achy joints that don’t work as well as they used to make it hard to do exercises. My greatest fear as I age is falling. Too many times I have seen lives change dramatically after a fall. 

My doctor suggested recently that I increase my exercise, so I signed up for senior Tai Chi classes at the Bay community room. One of Tai Chi's biggest benefits is its capacity to improve balance and prevent falls. At first glance my impression was that it was too slow, unlike any exercise class, but I found out quickly how wrong I was. It’s amazing how tiring it can be to move slowly for an hour. On doctor’s orders, I join 30 men and women each Friday for an hour of slow, deliberate, focused movement.

Being advised to work out three hours a week, I also take a senior water aerobics class. The very thought of getting into the water on these freezing mornings is enough to make me want to turn over in my warm bed and take a few more winks. Water exercise is bit quicker muscle movement and it does feel good once I'm in the water. But there is no easy way to get into the water, there is only slow and slower. No matter how it's done it never gets any easier. Nevertheless, I do it fairly regularly, joining other Silver Sneaker members twice a week. Once in, the senior swim crowd can get quite lively. We do put in a good hour of exercise but our group chatters and the laughter tends toward senior subjects best left to the imagination in this article.  

Whether it’s Tai Chi or swimming, you won’t necessarily lose weight. Tai Chi is good for balance. As for water exercise, I’m reminded of an old comment I heard again recently that made me smile: "If swimming is so good for the figure, how do you explain whales?"

I'm burning calories while writing this and it's wearing me out. I wonder what my doctor will recommend when I see her in April. As I write this it's Friday, so I am off to Tai Chi. See you there?

Eileen Vernon

Trustee of The Bay Village Foundation. Retired lawyer. Resident of Bay Village for over 32 years.

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 9:34 AM, 03.07.2017