We have a friend, Helen, who died three months ago at the age of 101.
Well in to her 90's, Helen was competing in - and winning - several swimming titles in the Senior Olympics. The last time I saw Helen, she was 95 years old. Charlie and I went to her home for dinner and to illustrate how she starts off her day, she pushed her chair back - and in between salad bites - dropped to the floor and started doing push-ups. Then, she flipped over and started doing sit-ups before standing up and doing a few leg lunges.
Charlie and I watched this nearly-a-centenarian-woman who had more zest than either of us combined, in shocked amazement as she declared, "This wakes me up and helps get my blood pumping!"
Charlie's dad, Alex, turned 82-years old on St. Patrick's Day. He recently qualified for the Senior Olympics in swimming. We credit his wife, Kathleen, for getting him hooked on the sport, since she's a rather avid swimmer, herself. I've known Alex for 20 years and I really don't think the man has aged a day.
He looks that good.
And according to his son, can still cook a mean steak.
My mother met the fitness King Jack LaLanne when she was at the Optimum Health Institute a few years ago. His secret for staying healthy and active is exercise and diet. According to Wikipedia, at the age of 95, LaLanne still works out 2.5 hours every morning. And he's been quoted as saying, "If man made it, don't eat it!" because he blames processed foods for a lot of the health problems that plague people, today.
Whenever I feel like I don't have the energy to get out and do something active, I just think about how good I always feel when I do something as simple as take a two mile walk.
And whenever I start to convince myself that I'm too busy and will have ample time later to do something, I try to remember that if I take time for myself now, I'm actually increasing my chances to live a longer and stronger life.
If I take the time NOW, I'll have more time LATER.
(Or so says Helen and Alex and Jack.)
So today, I stopped the "critically important task" that I was working on (and which I cannot even remember now so it mustn't have been that critically important after all) and I took off for a one-hour walk around the absolutely beautiful why would we ever leave it neighborhood. When I returned home, I was more convinced than ever that even a leisurely walk gives you energy. Exercise clears your mind. It makes you feel good about yourself. And if sustained, there is no doubt it will help you look better in a bathing suit.
Provided, of course, you are able to resist the incredible temptation to "reduce" the population of processed Dove chocolate Easter bunnies that are currently residing in your house.
Those darn Target candy sales.
They'll get you every time.
I'd bet three bunnies Jack LaLanne skips that store, altogether.