Saturday, 10 December 2011

Reflections on Old Age and Keeping Fit

On our walk today we were talking about old age and keeping fit. We walk our Westie for at least an hour every day. That's our commitment to him and to us. As I said we were talking about old age and keeping fit. In fact, if I'm honest, it's a bit of  an ongoing conversation at the moment because for one reason we're getting old and for another my sister in law who is in her 80's is suffering from dementia. Joyce unfortunately can no longer tell the time but she can still remember how to dance and she does. 

I know many of you who will read this will be on the go types but I'm not and really never have been from being a child. Of course I played out and played the games children did at the time but when I look back my games were usually something organised and organising. I would play shop and mostly I was the shopkeeper selling mud pies. I would be the librarian, or the post mistress stamping books and postal orders. I would organise concerts and sell tickets at a 1d a go! If I was on my own I would read or go to the cinema. The point I'm making is I wasn't really running about being athletic. As the youngest child in a grown up family I was groomed to fit in. So I was always 'grown up' for my age and I was expected to be on my own and fill my own time. 

But even if I wasn't sporty I did walk to school there and back which was approximately four miles in total. There was no school run because working class people generally didn't have cars. In fact one of my childhood treats was to get on the number nine bus and go the round trip. Yes that's right, I'd just sit on the bus with Mum and she'd point out places of interest. I thought it was brilliant! If I offered to go on a bus with any of my grandchildren just for a ride they'd think I'd lost the plot! 

Anyway suffice it to say I am not an athletic type and I can sit for England. When we were younger we used to regularly walk in Derbyshire, The Dales and The Lake District but problems with health have meant we've stopped doing that on a regular basis. We of course do chores and all the normal stuff entailed in running the home but if push comes to shove pastimes mean sitting! Would I like to be more active?  Theoretically yes, but then let's be honest if I really wanted to I'd have done it! 

These days there are all these exhortations for the elderly to keep busy, keep active, look good, work longer. My Mother would think the world had gone mad. She was busy doing her cleaning job, up to the age of sixty, and she kept the home running which was active and it also kept her fit. She looked good with the aid of soap and water and Pond's Cold Cream and kept her mind active reading books from the library. Her me time, which wasn't really me time, because she had me in tow was a bus ride, a walk round the local cemetery reading the headstones or a trip to the local museum. At night she'd go to the pub with Dad.

She lived to be eighty four with no real illness. She had a mini stroke around seventy but made a full recovery. She had another stroke prior to her death. She was getting ready to go to the pub to meet her old cronies when she felt unwell. She was transported to hospital and the following morning she was in a vegetative state. She died the following day. She had kept fit living her normal everyday life. She didn't want or expect experts to tell her what to do. She just was. Whilst my life is more complex and I have more options I don't know whether I could really say I enjoy my life more? 


  1. Life is what you make of it, I'd love to be able to walk more - but breathing problems make it difficult. I am completely out of condition! I used to walk about a mile to work & another mile back - that kept my weight under control, well ... now it's out of control!
    Not much I can do about it really as my exercise ability is very limited and food intake is low - but that's just me!
    Happy? Yes! Happier than my parents - don't know because our expectations are different to theirs.
    As I said at the beginning - life is what you make of it! x

  2. I'm sorry about your physical limitations Pat but you seem to be philosophical about that and as you say if you're happy then that's good. Me I was was just reflecting on my life then and perhaps now x

  3. It's true.  We are all expected to live our lives "to the full" but it's often other peoples' "full". Sometimes, I want to just be quiet and do my own thing - it doesn't usually involve exercise!  We do walk the poodle and I like to swim in a local lake in the summer, but have come to terms with not ever being skinny.  I love a glass of wine, and to eat well (avoiding fat) but I like my life and on the whole, quite contented.     

  4. when I read comments like yours Carol I think I still have some way to go to reach contentment but it also makes me feel it's a possibility. Thank you

  5. This has been a rough "weight" year. I'm at that age and I'm gaining weight hoping it will settle down. Ten years ago I would have been in tears but now it just seems to be a part of aging for me. I keep in shape because I must but no longer do it with passion. My husband, that turd, looks better than he has in years:-)    

  6. If I look at photos my weight has gone up and down over the years and it seems to have nothing to do with age. The only thing that's changed with age is my attitude towards it. I would like to drop a few sizes. Who knows perhaps I will after my next op? As to to your OH all I can say is 'men - what are they like' :-)