Betty, You are An Inspiration!
Upon stopping by to see my friend Betty recently, I noticed that she seemed energetic and had a glow about her. I was wondering what she was doing that had her looking so happy and started thinking about what might be new in her life. Then it came to me. I knew that she had recently started taking walks as a form of exercise. So I asked her, “Betty, are you still taking walks?”
She gave me a smile of acknowledgement and pride, and went on to say that she and a friend had been walking together daily. For any ordinary lady, a daily walk may not seem to be such an extraordinary feat. However, Betty is no ordinary lady.
To give you some background, Betty is going to be 97 years young later this year and uses a walker. She seems to be outliving her family and has suffered her fair share of loss and hardship. However, rather than give up on life, she continues to replenish her life with new friends who have become “family.” While Betty is appreciative of this blessing, one gets a sense that Betty has been a bigger blessing to those that now consider her “family”.
But back to her new source of energy and peace; walking. Why is walking so great for her? Well, for one it helps her to get out of her everyday surroundings. Staying in one place for long periods of time can get boring and stale. Isn’t that why they call it “getting some fresh air?” In addition, she is an avid admirer of birds and their calls. It’s quite obvious to those around her that walks have been energizing for her mentally, spiritually, and physically.
As I’ve written before, in my experiences with the elderly, both personally and professionally, I’ve learned that people are happiest when they are active. I often tell clients that there are no small exercises, only small efforts. For example, do what exercises and activities you can while being safe. In other words, don’t be afraid to ask a friend to go for a walk with you, even if it’s only around the block.
My hope is that this article about Betty’s new found energy is inspirational to those of you that need to hear this message right now. After I saw her last, I headed directly for the gym. I’m sure there are plenty of others that should be listed in an article about how to age gracefully. While I realize that I am biased, I’ll make a strong argument for Betty to be at the top of the list.
If you are currently in need of some exercise and activity, I encourage you to become aware of some available options in your community. Call a friend to exercise with you. For those of you locally looking to feel better, enjoy some exercise, and participate in a social atmosphere, I would suggest that you contact our Lake Wales Family YMCA, Positive Body Incorporated, or one of our other local fitness facilities.