Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Power of Exercise

Warning, there may be TMI in this post; just a heads up.
I'm 51  years old, and this morning, I started my period, as I have every month since I was 10 years old, except for the times I was pregnant or nursing.
I realize that menopause  must be coming my way, but I feel like I've been able to hold it off by exercising.
I trained to run a marathon at age 39 but couldn't run it because of a torn ACL. I trained and ran the marathon at age 40, and I've been running regularly ever since.
Here I am after I fell rollerblading this summer. Not
hurt, just lucky not to have hit my head. Not all
exercise is a success, but I keep trying. 
So what evidence do I have that exercising is keeping me young? Only anecdotal.
This summer, I had a heel injury. First I cut back on running, then the doctor told me to "shut it down" and not to exercise at all. We didn't have a gym membership at the time, so I sat on my couch for a couple of months. During that time, I stopped having periods. In August when I started running again, I had two periods, as if to catch up with my sedentary months.
Running makes me feel better. I run 4 to 5 days per week, going 4 to 6 miles each time. Two other days a week, I meet my friend Pam at the YMCA where we lift weights and bicycle or swim. She has shared her wisdom with me that, "If you aren't in the gym during  your 50s, you're going to hate your 60s."
I don't want to find out. I plan to keep exercising.
In addition to keeping me young, I think running keeps me healthy. I go out in some pretty cold weather. On Saturday, the temperature was 19 degrees when I headed out. I held my phone in my hand and at 4.8 miles, my phone died. I thought the cold might have gotten to it since it was fully charged when I left.
This morning, with the temperature at a balmier 23 degrees, I tucked the phone into my water belt so that it stayed close to my body and whatever body heat I might be emanating. It lasted the full five miles today.
Runs allow me to see beautiful sunrises, like this one in
Florida when I visited my parents. 
So exercising is keeping me young, it's keeping me healthy, and it's keeping me sane. Whatever problems I may have, and with three young adult children, the problems do seem to pile up, but they are not as bad after I've gone for a long run. The run gives me time to mull over possibilities, and it delivers some lovely endorphins to assuage my worries.
And one more benefit to my morning exercise is that I get to commune with nature. That sounds hokey, doesn't it? But when I'm out on the streets in the dark and I look into the sky to see the twinkling stars or a cheshire grin of the moon, I can't help but smile. I often say out loud, "Oh, there you are!" to the moon when I glimpse it.
So, no matter what you choose to do, I urge you to get out there and start moving. Walking, biking, gardening, exercise classes, a gym membership, anything that gets your heart rate up and increases your aerobic activity, can be a benefit and help you stay young too.
So what do you think? TMI? Well, too bad, because pretty soon, I'm going to be writing again about the benefits of not wearing a bra. Stay tuned!


(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

If exercise makes you feel great than you should go for it. As for delaying menopause though, that tends to be determined by genres ...a few years either way based on how old your mother was.

I was never religious about exercising and the change, for me, took place at 54, similar to my mom and her sisters.

Paulita said...

Diane, Hard to know since most women in my family had hysterectomies. I know so many women who have finished menopause before they got anywhere near 50. Strange range of ages.

Linda said...

I started a membership at an exercise club near us just this week. I just feel better when I work out. I'm not jogging though.

grammajudyb said...

I say continue to do it, to continue to feel good. I am much older than you.(Almost old enough to be your mother). I don't walk or run for exercise, due to arthritis. I did swim several years ago, but fear of falling has kept me indoors this winter. Keep moving, you will be glad!!

sillygirl said...

Do keep moving! I'm 71 and it is more important every year you add a number and easier to keep going than starting to exercise. I see friends that don't do something and they can barely walk. I have Mal du Debarkment Syndrome so it is a chore to move but even more important to keep moving. If one form of exercise gets boring find another but keep moving!

Joy said...

Love the bit about going to the gym in your 50s. I'm going to remember that to motivate my exercise!

This would be a great post for the Tuesday Readers' Workouts meme.

Jacqui Brown said...

I do far more exercise here in France than I ever used to, however running is not my thing, but I find a dog walk and a bike ride are great for the mind and body. Talking of the menopause, at 43 I guess I've a few years yet and although I know it's much more than no more periods, I can't wait to be rid of them!

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