May 17, 2006

It’s HOT!
Now I’m discovering the down side of South Florida. The sun is so strong I have to wear a hat or my baldpate turns a bright rosy red and peals within hours. Sore doesn’t begin to describe the pain and itch. The humidity is so high that it feels like I’m walking and moving through syrup. I sweat constantly, though my doctor tells me that is a good thing.

“It shows that you are healthy because your body is still able to react to the heat,” he says.

However, I also think part of the difficulty is caused by the fact that I was home in chilly Pennsylvania during the last of April and the first two weeks in May. My blood thickened in the algid North, and now I have to reacclimatize myself to the tropical weather down here. I am forcing myself to go out and shop during the hottest part of the day. I also go to the condominium swimming pool every other day, though I sit under an umbrella when not in the water. I continue my exercise program by going to a local gym on the days I don’t swim. I do a lot of slow stair climbing, and slow walking on the Elliptical machine. I also take a walk almost every morning just after sunrise though the temperature is usually hovering in the mid seventies. I force myself to go to the beach at least two times a week and sit on one of the benches placed beneath the palms looking out over the transparent aqua waters of the Atlantic. I also plan to do volunteer work at Compass two days a week. It’s an exhausting schedule for a person my age, but it means that I sleep like a log at night. I hope that the forced activity is also helping to keep my ageing body from deteriorating as quickly as it might otherwise.

As part of the research I had done in order to set up my exercise program I researched the following phrase on Google, “Exercise for the aged.” One site,"Be Fit Over Fifty, Inc." did offer actual step-by-step exercise programs for strength, shaping and sculpting, and cardio fitness among others. However, most of the websites that turned up on the Google list had images of 20, 30, and 40 somethings using equipment sold by the websites. There were even those claiming to sell machines that would remove fat and flab with no exercise. I was appalled!

My best advice to anyone wishing to improve their quality of life, and perhaps prolong it a year or two is to start with simple, basic exercises and progress with them until it hurts. And, I do mean hurt. As anyone training to play a sport knows – “no pain, no gain.” I’m not talking about knife stabbing pain. I’m talking about the burning sensation caused by profitable, strengthening exercise. If you can’t do an exercise standing up, try doing it lying down. In short, start where you must, but start, TODAY!

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