Meditation & Moving for Guys Who Hate The Gym: Part One
My dad was fond of saying: “you don’t wear out, you rust out.” As I push my late 60s, I agree.
The problem is finding some sort of exercise you actually like to do. Because I for one hate gyms; mostly because there’s some sort of implied social component, for which I have no need, especially as a somewhat out-of-shape man of age.
But there’s a bunch of easy alternatives.
By far and away, walking is the singular easiest ongoing exercise for older adults. It requires no real equipment short of shoes, and maybe some sort of music streaming device. Maybe even a dog.
And, not only is it good for your legs and stamina, I’ve found it to solve or least partly mitigate lower back pain. After a major surgery about 6 years ago I had awful back pain, and to get back into the workaday world I unwittingly took a retail gig that had me walking the store floor for hours at a time. The job bored me to tears, but my back pain went away. Chock one up to the glass-half-full category.
A variation of simple walking has been developed by Lawrence Licklider, PhD, of Massachusetts, which he calls “skillful walking.” He promotes it on his website, along with his manual step trainer, which he calls the Breathboard™. I bought a Breathboard after seeing it on a local TV magazine, and frankly, it’s a little underwhelming. But it does the trick if you’re looking for a really low-impact training method. It surely helped me. Take a peek, and at very least try to emulate the ‘skillful walking’ — basically exaggerated walking that pulls your knees inward and to your belly to help oxygenate the coccyx, the bone at the base of your spine.
I skillful walk in my shower almost every day when my back hurts — and the pain goes away after only a few minutes practice. Try it — it works!
NEXT: We dance!