Today while Rosemary and I were shopping I seemed to be a bit distracted, I was thinking about what I should talk to you about this week.
Then seemingly, from out of nowhere, I was blindsided with just the message I was looking for.
Rosemary and I were in a pet food store getting some supplies for our four legged family members, I was reaching down for a 30lb bag of dog food from the bottom shelf when I heard a voice behind me,
“Let me help you with that, sir.”
I looked back into the face of young employee who obviously thought that I would need some help with our purchase,
“Thank you,” I replied, “ but I’ve got it”.
But this kid was persistent,
“No. really, I’ll get that for you”
I shook my head and smiled,
“That’s quite all right I already have it, but thank you anyway.”
And with that I put the 30lb bag of dog food on my shoulder and headed for the check out.
Now, I know the young store employee meant well, but many of our fellow seniors would have allowed this younger person to do the heavy work for them?
Many of these younger people look at us as being older and not capable of doing heavier work.
Now sure, we all need help sometimes, myself included.
If the task is something you can’t handle, it makes perfect sense for you to ask for help, and you should.
But there are many tasks we allow others to do for us the older we get, but we shouldn’t make it a habit with everything we do.
I suppose letting this young man carry the bag to the checkout would have been the “polite” thing to do, but what would I have gained?
I would have lost the opportunity to use the shopping trip as a form of exercise the way I had planned.
I remember a few years ago, my daughter Francine took me by the arm to help me across an intersection.
I knew right then and there that this kind of behavior could not continue.
The next time we were crossing at an intersection I took her by the arm to help her cross the street and she reacted rather indignantly, but she got the message.
And that message is…
By allowing these simple tasks to be done for us we’re allowing ourselves to be setup for physical failure.
Remember me telling you about how some people make excuses for not exercising, well this is very similar.
If you keep allowing someone to do the lifting and reaching for you your fitness level continues to decline and pretty soon you can’t lift or reach at all.
You lose your strength and range of motion and you become dependent on someone else and/or some kind mechanical device.
The same is true in reverse, do your own work, lift, bend and reach.
You’ll maintain your strength, mobility and range of motion. And you’ll remain a useful, viable and independent person.
When I entered that store that day, I knew what I was going to purchase and purposely did not use a shopping cart.
I turned shopping into exercise.
I carried the bag of dog food from the back of the store to the checkout and then out to my car in the parking lot.
The older I get the more often I run into these situations and I always try to react in a similar way.
When I go to the local home & garden center I almost have to fight with the clerks if I want to lift a couple of bags of fertilizer into my truck.
What I’m saying is turn your daily work into exercise, that’s how I came up with Forgotten Fitness.
You don’t have to go to a gym or fitness class to improve your health, there are plenty of things you can do that don’t require anything other than what you’ve got around you at any given time.
Here’s a formula I like to use and I hope you will use it as well:
Work + Time + Distance= Fitness
Let me give you an example of what I mean…
Last year I decided to encircle two of my tropical fruit trees with decorative blocks. By the end of the day I handled 200 blocks each about four times.
I got plenty of exercise that day considering handling the blocks and the bending over to place them.
To me every day is about fitness and good health…
And doing my own work is part of that.
Don’t get me wrong, if I need help I’ll ask for it, but I consider the need before I ask for the help.
I guess it’s obvious what this week’s message is, work is exercise so do it yourself and stay fit because you did.
The next time a young person asks if you need help, before you automatically say “Yes”, think about the task at hand, and take advantage of the opportunity to improve yourself.
And as always, remember…
Never say “I’m too old” or “I can’t”… because you’re not and you can.