Manic Monday ~ No Spring Chicken

St. Patrick's Day has past and was a date marker for our 60 day challenge of healthy living. If you were one to use this benchmark to kick start your journey, I hope you feel like you have established a good foundation to build on!! Not only has St. Patrick's Day marked the last big celebrated day of our winter season, but it moves us right into the next season: spring!!

Spring is a time of renewal, new growth, and new life. All of us yearn for this spring season after a season of cold weather, sickness, and cabin fever. Which brings me to the subject of what I want to write about. We, adults also try to relive our youth by revisiting activities we once were able to perform with ease but quickly realize that our bodies just can't do what they use to. We are no spring chickens anymore. We are roosters and hens! We are better at cackling than what we use to be good at! This can be discouraging to many of us middle-aged adults as we transition from a youthful body into one with aches and pains. It's hard to accept as our minds like to trick us into believing we still are 18 and do everything that we did at that very age. Just a "few" years ago when I reached my mid 30's I was tumbling around my backyard with my daughter and nephew. My husband was our audience. You could say I was probably showing off. In my youth I was pretty good at acrobats. I loved gymnastics. I was considered a tall gymnast making it more challenging for me to whip those legs around. That was in my youth. And there I was in my 30's doing round offs into back handsprings in the yard. It was going good. Then I wanted to amaze my small audience...ummm... Well, maybe it was pride. I announced I was going to add another element that I was sure I could perform again: a back tuck. A victory.....NOT. At the last minute I put my arm down as I was upside down, over rotated and landed in a crazy sideways position. I was in some terrible pain. Needless to say I ended up in the ER later that night. I broke my elbow from my arm being hyper extended and I sprained my ankle. Way to go Rachel! That day was the day I realized I was no spring chicken.

My husband has been tossing around the idea of wrestling in next weeks Sherrard Open Tournament. This wrestling tournament is unique because there is a division for the older adults to wrestle in. Last year my son wrestled at the Sherrard Open and then my husband and son stuck around to watch the "old timers" wrestle. The wrestling was great. BUT the men walking off those mats looked like they just became crippled. Low back strains, knee torques, shoulder pain, complete exhaustion, and a look of disbelief (as if there was no comprehension as to why they felt the way they did). No spring chicken! So, dear husband.... be prepared to accept the consequences. We will have Advil and ice packs ready just in case. But, if it requires any major medical attention, this will be the LAST time he does that!

As we age in calendar years, so do our bodies. Aging occurs in all of the body's cells, tissues, and organs. This includes our joints, muscles, and bones. As muscles age, they begin to shrink and lose mass. This is a natural process (and a sedentary lifestyle can accelerate it). The number and size of muscle fibers also decrease. The water content of tendons, the cord-like tissues that attach muscles to bones, decrease also causing more chances of strains and injury. The loss of bone density changes and for women who have experienced menopause, the loss accelerates more so. As a result, bones become more fragile and are more likely to break. As we age, joints are affected by changes in cartilage and in connective tissue. This all sounds like bad news. But, there is good news. If we take care of our bodies with proper nutrition and proper exercise, we will be regenerating our cells optimally. This will allow for our bodies to perform at the best of its ability even surpassing the performance abilities of some of today's youth. This good news also comes with wisdom of being mindful of our capabilities as we age. Our minds are always willing to go, go, go, but our bodies are changing and may be slow, slow, slow to start...and may need to be eased into many performing activities. Once, warmed up, our bodies can perform wonderfully.

So, some of us may not be "spring chickens,"but we can be "adventurous adults," "outstanding oldies," "running roosters," and "happy hens."

Have a GREAT week!

Rachel Zimmerman,

Certified Personal Trainer and Life Coach

ACE/NSCA

Wife, Mother, and Friend

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