Marsh column: You are only as old as you feel

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 15, 2013

I have heard that statement many times and I even agree with it. I am almost 47, and many times in my mind I feel like a 20 year old. Now there are times, with all my injuries, bad back and neck, I feel like an 80-year- old. But typically, most of us stay young at heart and mind. Our older active adults at the YMCA inspire me. They continue to exercise and keep moving. It’s a choice isn’t it? Too many times people give in too quickly. There are people of all ages and health levels exercising at the YMCA. You might not be able to do what you used to do, but there is something you can do.

As I have mentioned before, if health, exercise and staying on a healthy weight were easy, everyone would be healthy, exercise and stay on their target weight. But it isn’t — it’s a choice that you need to make. Only you can do it. We (trainers and group exercise instructors) can assist you with this, but you are the one having to do it.

I don’t want to hear any excuses. I see too many people who actually have an excuse staying with it. Whether it is MS (multiple sclerosis), a bad back, old age or arthritis, exercise will help you deal with it. It’s the mindset that will make you succeed or fail.

I call them my poster “children” — the ones who are of age (70 plus) but continue to strive to grow old gracefully and independently. Exercise helps your brain function; it keeps your muscles and bones strong and gives you that sense of power and control of your body.

A strong body, mind and spirit, positive thoughts, staying independent — you would think everyone would want that, right? Unfortunately, there are always the ones who will find a reason why they can’t do it.

To feel good and reach the goals you set for yourself, you have to work to get there. You need to set them for a suitable time frame and just do it.

You can be 30 years old and feel like 80, or you can be 90 and feel and move as a 40 year old. You are as old as you feel, but most of us are in control what age we want to feel. Growing old gracefully, healthy and happy — isn’t that what all of us want?

Then get up and start now!

Ester H Marsh ACSM Cpt