At the beginning of September I wrote a post about staying fit after fifty, and after retirement. Battling what I call “slippage.” I was writing about my own life, the difficulty of keeping fit over time and the changes wrought by retirement.
Oddly enough, I thought that “slippage” was a word I had made up.
I guess I should have checked.
Yourdictionary.com defines “slippage” as “movement away from an original or secure place due to slipping [resulting in] loss of motion and power.” Merriam-Webster.com says it’s “the act of sliding, a movement downward, into a lower or worse condition or state.”
Some of the definitions I found stem from a reference to things mechanical, the idea of gears and cogs not moving correctly, hence the loss of power. Literally. But all of them see the term as pejorative. Totally.
And that was not my intention when I used it. Not the “spin” I wanted.
Slippage, for me, is partly the result of my less stressful life now that I’m retired, partly the result of the passage of years and the increasing effects of gravity, and partly because my new less stressful life involves more time to indulge in activities I love which also, unfortunately, happen to involve sitting.
But although “slippage” means gaining a few extra pounds along the way, not fitting into those skinny jeans quite the way I want, and finding deepening crow’s feet when I look into the mirror… I do not see it as “downward movement” or sliding into a “worsening state.” At least not totally.
I guess one could look at it that way. But I look at it as nature throwing down the gauntlet. Challenging me. As if she’s saying…”You want to sit on your butt more, do you? Get out from under the stress of that stressful job? Read more? Work on that silly blog? Well, little sister…there’s a price to pay for that. Either find a way to move that butt more…or…you know….slippage.”
Okay. This would be my challenge. To move more, walk more, and increase my workouts without hurting something (knees, hips, etc etc) in order to be able to enjoy my extra reading time and that glass of wine with dinner.
For years I have cycled and hiked in summer, and then cross-country skied in the winter with Hubby… when he’s not playing golf or hockey…. which he does three days a week. When he’s doing those things, I sit on my exercise bike. I needed a new plan that went beyond my sitting on the bike in the basement on those days we weren’t doing something together. A plan that increased my overall activity level and added activities that were more fun. And which did not involve exercise classes which I have tried…. they just make me cranky.
So, my new plan includes skating. Last winter, I bought skates for the first time in 30+ years and skated with Hubby a few times before his hockey season started. I needed to be able to do it more regularly. So I contacted a couple of women with whom I taught and who retired around the same time as I did. And we’ve started skating… every Thursday morning, for an hour. Just before we go for coffee and catch up on all our gossip. It’s been fun.
And I have added power walking into my weekly “moving” plan. Twice a week for at least 60 minutes. This I love. I listen to my books on my i-pod. (I’m currently finishing up the new Deborah Crombie To Dwell in Darkness.)
I walk on one of two trails in and around Manotick. They’re lovely. Although neither have the spectacular beauty of some of the walks Hubby and I have done over the years.
|Hiking in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand.
|Hiking near Broome, north Western Australia.|
|Sign on the trail in Kluane National Park, Yukon.|
And there are no post-hike indulgences like this to be had.
|Post hike activity, Costa Rica
But the trail does wander along the Jock River…
My new “moving” plan still involves using my exercise bike, and combining that with a weight work-out, three times a week. Apparently one of the reasons for my hip and knee problems has been too much of the same activity. In summer, I am either cycling outside with Hubby or riding my exercise bike; the skating and walking will add variety, and allow me to do more overall with less injury. The other reason is a strength imbalance. So along with upper body weights, which I have always done, I added in a good lower body workout. I have been pretty lax there, assuming that the cycling took care of the lower body strengthening. Wrong.
I love doing all this. Really. There’s nothing more fun for me than shaking things up with a new plan. So…over the course of the week, I hope to manage, three bike rides (mostly on my exercise bike) combined with weight work-outs, two power walks, and one skate, I will take one day off altogether.
At least that’s the plan.
And it’s worked pretty well. I hurt my knee riding my bike at Thanksgiving, spent ten days in New Brunswick in September, and five days camping in October… all of which resulted in some alteration to the plan. But for the most part I’m on track. Moving more and with more variation. And having more fun, overall.
Because for one to avoid seeing “slippage” as the inexorable downward slide… one has to not only move one’s butt more, but also to allow for fun. And for still fitting into those skinny jeans AND enjoying that glass of wine with dinner…oh, and maybe the odd piece of apple pie for afters.
Don’t get me wrong… I’m not an expert on “aging” or even “middle-aging.” These are just my experiences and my challenges and what I’m choosing to do about them.
However, some other bloggers I read… like Frances at Materfamilias Writes and Lisa at Amid Privilege… have much more profound and insightful things to say about aging, maturing, facing what life throws at us when we’re over fifty than I do. You should check them out.
So folks, the plan will unfold as it should. Stay tuned for Slippage Part Trois. This is a saga after all… not just a mini-series.
Besides… minis are so over, aren’t they? Please let them be over.
What are you doing about slippage?
9 thoughts on “Fit After Fifty … The Saga Continues”
Hi Susan! What gorgeous photos! I am not over fifty but I am going to 'slip' my two bits worth in here. I am not immune to the shock of a changing body, even just having children at a young age alters the body from it's fragile and tentative status as young and nubile goddess. This should be a reminder that life is not static and change is part of its beauty but not too many of us are able to see it that way. I am trying to though and that is basically my strategy. The effects of aging are compounded by a chronic illness, if not in my appearance, definitely in how I feel. My prescription for staying young and healthy looking and feeling as I age will not be the same as it is for someone without a chronic illness or disability. My personal goal is to come to terms with this in addition to the natural aging process. I make gains every day and am trying to take my cues from nature. Nature is always beautiful and perfect, even the slimiest fungus or strange looking sap weeping growth on a tree trunk, or a tiny naked mole rat underground. People who do not have classic beauty in their bone structure or body shape can radiate beauty and warmth with their eyes or the smile on their face, with their touch or their words. These are the things that I focus on so that I can remember that if I see the rest of the world this way, I must also see myself this way.
The naked mole rat does not waste time wishing it had wings or fur, so I shall not do that either. The photos of the exotic places you have been (exotic is of course in the eye of the beholder) are indeed stunning and you are fortunate to have been there, but your local walking area is equally as gorgeous, not only from the broad perspective but in the tiniest details. Being forced by my illness to slow done, to sometimes amble or stroll when my natural instinct is to stride, has in some ways been a gift. It makes me pay attention, it makes me find satisfaction in less space, a smaller view, a simpler thing.
That, was a lot of talk for two bits. Anyhow, that's how I am approaching things, in a 47 year old body that certainly no longer looks or behaves like the 30 year old body I once had but has also been hampered by illness for all of its adult life. This is the body I've got and it's as beautiful and important as any leaf on any tree, or any decaying stump for that matter. 😉
Thanks so much for that, Shawna. Wise words, indeed. I'm going to try to remember that line…"This is the body I've got and it's as beautiful and important as any leaf on any tree…" when the next bump on the road of aging comes my way.
Thanks for the mention!
Cross-training is really the best way to go, for a well-rounded fitness plan that avoids injuries. I've been relying too much on running lately, just because it's so convenient, but I've managed to get back to a weekly yoga class (my goal is 2-3 weekly) and we've been doing quite a bit of cycling when we're in the city. . . Beautiful photos! No wonder you enjoy your power walks!
I don't know how you do it. When do you find time to fit in yoga with the teaching (and marking!) and family and running? You're a marvel, Mater!
I feel so in tune with what you have to say on so many subjects. On this one I will add my pennyworth in that don't beat yourself up if you don't always achieve the regime you have outlined for yourself. Life gets in the way sometimes. Maybe a minor health setback or a lovely outing preventing you from exercising. Like you I have a regime but as mentioned above life gets in the way and it's so easy to beat oneself up over it. Like Shawna's wise words enjoy the moment.
Thanks, Christy. My new plan is more of "guideline"…since I'm having trouble fitting in 3 weight work-outs. Mostly because I can't do weights two days in a row…and there are only so many days in the week. Hubby's suggestion to try for 5 over two weeks, instead, is a good one, I think.
Thanks for the support! And for reading.
Thank you very much! And your exercise program is a good deal more robust than mine – I commend you. I manage twice a week training sessions, because, paid for them thank you for very much, and one or two brisk longish walks. Go you!
Thanks, Lisa. I'm working on keeping to my plan….as well as not obsessing about my self-imposed schedule.
I'm 54 today and can relate to this post a lot!Thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things blog hop. xo
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