When I was getting my writing career going, I worked part-time as a fitness trainer in a hospital wellness program. My favorite exerciser was Mac. He was small and frail, his pulse was close to impossible to detect, and his blood pressure was quite low. Mac was one-hundred-years-old. On one particular day in class he wobbled some getting up from the chair, leaning with both hands on his walker for support. He concerned me, so I linked an arm through his and applied a death grip to the underside of his forearm. Mac smiled and patted my other hand that was tightly attached to his upper arm and we shuffled toward a stationary bike. I adjusted the seat, helped him climb on, and secured his feet on the pedals and hands on the bars. He pushed one foot down and the pedals and handlebars began a slow rotation. His leg and arm muscles quivered. I stepped closer. His body stabilized and he pedaled a little harder. I was worried. What if a foot slipped off the pedal and he fell? What if he passed out? What if his hundred-year-old heart just quit?
“Tell me how you’re feeling, Mac,” I asked in an insistent voice.
He grinned and pedaled faster.
“How hard do you feel you’re working?” I quizzed.
He winked, raised both thumbs up, and began to sing.
“On the road again….Just can’t wait to get on the road again.”The others in the class howled with delight and Mac continued on with his Willie Nelson tune. I knew right then I wanted to age happy.
One of the major components of good aging boils down to the daily practice of opting for happy, choosing a good aging attitude no matter the terrain. I don't always do this well. Sometimes I choose to whine - like when I had to get hearing aids. But then I realized I could chat with my little grandson without saying "what" all the time and I decided to be happy about that. I learned from my association with older exercisers that the issues we encounter through the aging process aren't in control of our attitude.
Back to the woman who said she had a beer and chips every night - well, in my opinion her happy attitude speaks volumes about her long life.
Cheers from THIS OLD GIRL.
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