Fitness Training for Old Age

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 Me,  March 2018
Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida

Eleven years ago I had back pain. I think it was psychosomatic. I was mad at myself for staying too long in a relationship that wasn’t working. Once I got the man out of my head, the back pain was gone.  Two years ago, I developed pains in my legs. It was really weird. It was intermittent, jumped from leg to leg, and sometimes wasn’t present at all.  After months of suffering,  I realized that my problem was a pair of black flip flops that had become my shoes of choice. Once I started wearing shoes with more support , my problem disappeared.  One year ago, I started having discomfort in my shoulders. This really bothered me both physically and psychologically.  I was afraid it was the beginning of the end. I actually thought I might have to give up camping and traveling.  But with help from physical therapists here at home and in Florida, I won that fight, too. I have to do stretching exercises every other day but it’s worth it. When I drove home from Florida this month I realized that even after two hours of nonstop of driving, I could exit my mini van with no grunting and no pain.  Victory!

This week, I  heard someone interview Elon Musk, the founder of  The Tesla Car Company. He has been having some trouble at one of his manufacturing plants.  Mr. Musk said he had been sleeping at the plant to keep on top of things.  On his office wall was an interactive computerized wall chart that showed strengths and weaknesses on the assembly line. When asked why he seemed to never leave the factory, he explained he needed to solve problems in real time.

Real time. Not later, not in an hour, not tomorrow.  Real time, as in now! I have not been a real time person when it comes to my health.  I overeat and then promise to start a new diet the next day.  I pledge to watch my intake of sweets and then I cheat.  I  constantly make excuses not to get in my daily walk. Well,  I am now 69 year old.  Young enough to know I have some time left but old enough to know time is running out. My three recent experiences with pain were wake up calls. I want to be as healthy as I can be. I want to really work on healthy habits. If not NOW, when?

There is enough information out there, so I know about staying away from salt, sugar, and fat.  I know about smoking and excessive drinking. I have tried all sorts of exercise plans but I like walking the best. It’s free and it can be done almost anywhere. I want to be like Elon Musk and study the strengths and weaknesses of my approach to life. It’s not  about  about how I look anymore, it’s about being the healthiest I can be.  It’s time to solve my problems in real time with discipline and thoughtful reflection.  I want to be as mobile and pain free as long as  I can because I still have a lot of traveling  to do and a lot of life to live.

Hints for Women Travelers #1- Protect Your Spirit from Violent Media

We live in a culture where violence is considered entertainment. I won’t watch dark TV shows or movies anymore. If I did, I’d see the world as a hostile place and probably would not travel alone. I would lose my trust in the goodness of humanity,believing everyone had the potential to hurt me. In 2001, I took a 70 day, 7000 mile solo camping trip across the US and Canada and was amazed by the consistent kindness of strangers. I am so glad I left my comfort zone and witnessed the beauty of the world and the people in it.
Joseph Campbell wrote about the power of myths, the long held stories of brave knights on quests and maidens needing to be rescued. Old folktales and horrifying fantasies create fear that can take away our freedom and our mobility. They destroy our independence and our desire to go on our own quests for happiness. To paraphrase Joseph Campbell, everyone has the right to follow their bliss!

Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.”                                                                                                                            –Joseph Campbell