At the beginning of September I wrote a post about staying fit after fifty, and after retirement. Battling what I call “slippage.” I was writing about my own life, the difficulty of keeping fit over time and the changes wrought by retirement.
Oddly enough, I thought that “slippage” was a word I had made up.
I guess I should have checked.
Yourdictionary.com defines “slippage” as “movement away from an original or secure place due to slipping [resulting in] loss of motion and power.” Merriam-Webster.com says it’s “the act of sliding, a movement downward, into a lower or worse condition or state.”
Some of the definitions I found stem from a reference to things mechanical, the idea of gears and cogs not moving correctly, hence the loss of power. Literally. But all of them see the term as pejorative. Totally.
And that was not my intention when I used it. Not the “spin” I wanted.
Slippage, for me, is partly the result of my less stressful life now that I’m retired, partly the result of the passage of years and the increasing effects of gravity, and partly because my new less stressful life involves more time to indulge in activities I love which also, unfortunately, happen to involve sitting.
But although “slippage” means gaining a few extra pounds along the way, not fitting into those skinny jeans quite the way I want, and finding deepening crow’s feet when I look into the mirror… I do not see it as “downward movement” or sliding into a “worsening state.” At least not totally.
I guess one could look at it that way. But I look at it as nature throwing down the gauntlet. Challenging me. As if she’s saying…”You want to sit on your butt more, do you? Get out from under the stress of that stressful job? Read more? Work on that silly blog? Well, little sister…there’s a price to pay for that. Either find a way to move that butt more…or…you know….slippage.”
Okay. This would be my challenge. To move more, walk more, and increase my workouts without hurting something (knees, hips, etc etc) in order to be able to enjoy my extra reading time and that glass of wine with dinner.
For years I have cycled and hiked in summer, and then cross-country skied in the winter with Hubby… when he’s not playing golf or hockey…. which he does three days a week. When he’s doing those things, I sit on my exercise bike. I needed a new plan that went beyond my sitting on the bike in the basement on those days we weren’t doing something together. A plan that increased my overall activity level and added activities that were more fun. And which did not involve exercise classes which I have tried…. they just make me cranky.
So, my new plan includes skating. Last winter, I bought skates for the first time in 30+ years and skated with Hubby a few times before his hockey season started. I needed to be able to do it more regularly. So I contacted a couple of women with whom I taught and who retired around the same time as I did. And we’ve started skating… every Thursday morning, for an hour. Just before we go for coffee and catch up on all our gossip. It’s been fun.
And I have added power walking into my weekly “moving” plan. Twice a week for at least 60 minutes. This I love. I listen to my books on my i-pod. (I’m currently finishing up the new Deborah Crombie To Dwell in Darkness.)
I walk on one of two trails in and around Manotick. They’re lovely. Although neither have the spectacular beauty of some of the walks Hubby and I have done over the years.
|Hiking in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand.
|Hiking near Broome, north Western Australia.|
|Sign on the trail in Kluane National Park, Yukon.|
And there are no post-hike indulgences like this to be had.
|Post hike activity, Costa Rica
But the trail does wander along the Jock River…
My new “moving” plan still involves using my exercise bike, and combining that with a weight work-out, three times a week. Apparently one of the reasons for my hip and knee problems has been too much of the same activity. In summer, I am either cycling outside with Hubby or riding my exercise bike; the skating and walking will add variety, and allow me to do more overall with less injury. The other reason is a strength imbalance. So along with upper body weights, which I have always done, I added in a good lower body workout. I have been pretty lax there, assuming that the cycling took care of the lower body strengthening. Wrong.
I love doing all this. Really. There’s nothing more fun for me than shaking things up with a new plan. So…over the course of the week, I hope to manage, three bike rides (mostly on my exercise bike) combined with weight work-outs, two power walks, and one skate, I will take one day off altogether.
At least that’s the plan.
And it’s worked pretty well. I hurt my knee riding my bike at Thanksgiving, spent ten days in New Brunswick in September, and five days camping in October… all of which resulted in some alteration to the plan. But for the most part I’m on track. Moving more and with more variation. And having more fun, overall.
Because for one to avoid seeing “slippage” as the inexorable downward slide… one has to not only move one’s butt more, but also to allow for fun. And for still fitting into those skinny jeans AND enjoying that glass of wine with dinner…oh, and maybe the odd piece of apple pie for afters.
Don’t get me wrong… I’m not an expert on “aging” or even “middle-aging.” These are just my experiences and my challenges and what I’m choosing to do about them.
However, some other bloggers I read… like Frances at Materfamilias Writes and Lisa at Amid Privilege… have much more profound and insightful things to say about aging, maturing, facing what life throws at us when we’re over fifty than I do. You should check them out.
So folks, the plan will unfold as it should. Stay tuned for Slippage Part Trois. This is a saga after all… not just a mini-series.
Besides… minis are so over, aren’t they? Please let them be over.
What are you doing about slippage?