It's a lazy long weekend and Crabby doesn't feel like doing much research. So she'll direct you over to Talia's blog for yet another cool study highlighting the benefits of exercise. This time, it's about senior citizens, and the study basically says: do some strength training, and you'll be a teenager again.
(Okay, no it doesn't. But close. Go check it out if you're not afraid of mitochondria).
As it happens, Crabby has "Old Age" and "Elderly People" on her mind these days--she's temporarily staying at a retirement community, along with her Most Significant Other. Most Significant Other's mother is recovering from back surgery, and for the last week or so, Crabby has been specializing in getting in the way and eating up all the food, but trying, in spirit, to help. (The patient is getting better, but surgery sucks when you're 82).
When she's not getting in the way, Crabby goes wandering around her temporary home and observes the flora and fauna and local residents. The place is very pleasant. It's huge, for one, with thousands of houses and condos spread out over vast acreage in a serene hilly area--there are deer and coyote and wild turkeys and this week even goats, chomping away at the fire-prone grassy hillsides.
And there are quite a few old people. Crabby knows you're not supposed to say "old," anymore, you're supposed to say "senior" or "elder" or something more respectfully euphemistic. But old seems a perfectly good descriptive word if you don't mean anything disparaging by it.
Some of these old people have taken good care of themselves, and some have not. There is a meaningful but not perfect correlation between these efforts and the end result. Significant Other's Mom, for example, was an avid exerciser all her life--but nonetheless has a crumbling spine and crippling arthritis.
But many of these old people, some of them ancient-looking, go out walking, or more rarely, even jogging, through the streets of this community. Some of the hills are really really steep. There is something so inspiring about seeing some fairly ancient looking residents, mostly women for some reason, making their way up these steep hills. Some cruise along easily; other doggedly put one foot in front of the other, tottering a bit or leaning on a cane. But the sight of these ladies getting out for some very tough exercise every day gives Crabby a reason to do it too.
Exercise is hard sometimes, but so is old age. If exercise can make old age any easier, then Crabby will just have to put aside her whining, put on her tennies, and get out the door to race these ladies up the hill. She won't even feel too badly about it when they win.