General Interest

Exercise, Mice, and Brick Walls

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There’s a wonderful article which appeared in the NY Times earlier this week, Can Exercise Keep You Young. The article explains that “exercising” mice significantly outlive sedentary mice. In addition, the exercising mice have a much better quality of life – they stay youthful and vital for much longer periods. I find these findings to be inspiring. So the article got me thinking about two things: first, I thought about my husband, who has been walking at least 3-5 times a week for ages now; and second, I thought about how difficult it is for most of us to climb over a brick wall life may throw in our path if we actually do start exercising.

First, my husband. People are usually very surprised to learn how old hubby really is. Most think he’s at least 5, if not 10 years younger than his birth certificate would attest to. And very much like the exercising mice in the article above, his walking has really paid off. He doesn’t take any meds – none whatsoever, his doc says he has the ticker of an 18 year-old, and he sails through his physicals – usually. So let me shorten what could be a lengthy story. Mr. Super-Health developed a problem and very recently underwent major surgery. Recoup time will be at least 6 weeks. He’s lost almost 20% of his body weight, and is understandably tired and weakened. Too tired and too weak to pick up his walking routine where he left it before this saga began. And that leads into my second point.

Second, climbing over brick walls. Hubby is impatient with the pace of healing and may even be a bit angry that he feels so darn rotten. Life has thrown him a brick wall. He knows exercise is good (don’t we all???) but he’s physically not able to jump right in where he left off. But we’re lucky. We have a treadmill conveniently located right within our home. So, with prodding, he’s been getting on the treadmill and doing little bits – and those little bits are slowly turning into bigger bits. He’s up to almost 10 minutes now (and please don’t write and tell me that’s inconsequential – because, quite frankly, it’s GREAT!). So slowly but steadily he’s starting to ascend.

We all know that we should exercise (along with so many other things we really should do). But we’re human. And because we’re human (we’re not mice), life will throw brick walls into the pathway of our good intentions. And when we face our brick walls, we need to reach out for help – we may need a boost to get us over that huge brick hump. Hubby’s “boost” is the treadmill sitting in our home combined with a bit of nudging on my part to get him on it.

Brick walls are inevitable. But it’s how we face those brick walls, and climb over them, that separate the men from the mice.

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