Putting One Foot in Front of the Other
Missy picks me up at the end of my driveway everyday at 7:45 AM. We walk four miles either up and down every street in our neighborhood or we venture out of the neighborhood and do “our loops” that we have determined to be 4.5 miles. Starting on October 23, 2019 and logging in over 2000 miles we have covered a lot of territory, both literal and figurative. Missy is a banker and, as you know, I am a Senior Living Specialist. We bounce ideas off each other: She has learned about aging parents and I have learned about private equity loans, but more than that we have solved the world’s problems. We lived through an election of which we are on opposing sides of the political spectrum and debated the issues. She saved my mortgage crisis, got me a PPE loan and has given me endless financial advice. I have helped her close her father’s office by selling all the furniture, arranged home health care for her in-laws and found an assisted living community for her sister in laws mother-in-law. We have held the leash of each other’s dogs on our walks and cried as each of us put a dog to sleep in the last two years. We shared our disappointment together as both of our college seniors graduated on our couches. We endlessly coach each other on navigating our 20 something children and our husbands. We are brutally honest. We do not judge. We respect each other’s opinions and differences. But more importantly, we are exercising. During the lockdown, sometimes it was the only time we left the house. This friendship originally was intended to get us in shape, but walking has turned into a trance that has kept us healthy physically, mentally and socially.
Along the way, we have befriended many neighbors. Mostly we greet them with a slight smile, simple salutation or a pet of their dog’s head. We have created imaginary personas for each and invented stories about their life. Our favorites are the older Americans we pass each day. There is Mr. Middlebury that wears his alma mater sweatshirt as he leaves his house at 8:00 for his slow-paced two-mile walk. Then there is Mrs. Bentley (named after her dog) that tyrannically trains her new puppy as she walks to the corner of Danbury and back. There is the hatted gardener who prunes and weeds her impeccable garden each morning before the day heats up. But, our all-time favorite is the motorized German Shepherd walker. Each of these seniors are “getting out there” to keep active, give purpose to their day and take in their Vitamin D.
nExercise is essential for seniors. Studies have shown that maintaining regular physical activity can help prevent many common diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. It can decrease risk of falls by strengthening core muscles while improving bone density and flexibility. Physical movement and exposure to the sun has endless mental health benefits. During the pandemic, often this was the only form of social engagements many seniors had. It helped stave off loneliness and depression. Doctors report that exercise is essential for improving cognitive function and slowing down the impairment of dementia and Alzheimer’s. Exercise and good nutrition are the two most important things an Older American can do for themselves.
Here are some great resources for Seniors that I personally recommend:
- Sameep Contractor – Mobile Senior Physical therapist and fitness instructor. He can help achieve peak strength, balance, and gait to be active and safe at home or in their community. 832.264.6342
- Adelina Sanchez- Mobile Senior massage therapist. She uses a holistic wellness approach and can create a medical massage plan with or without customized CBD protocol. 832.409.4079
- Gail Stolzenburg – Senior Wellness Coach. He has an internet-based consultation program that looks at nutrition, exercise, and stress management. 281.493.1955