I was on the treadmill at the health club when an elderly gentleman walked by and greeted a man who was on the treadmill next to me.

“Trying to get in shape?” he asked him.

“Just trying to stay alive,” his friend replied. This reminded me of a comic strip I saw once that pictured a doctor with a clipboard talking to an overweight man who had just completed a physical. The doctor glanced at his clipboard, then asked the man, “Which fits in better with your schedule, exercising for one hour a day, or being dead for 24?”

I don’t find that quite as funny as I did when I first read it years ago. Probably because I’m feeling more aches and pains these days than I did then. I’m not exactly sure why – but if I’m looking for reasons, there are plenty of contenders. For one thing, “old age” is creeping up on me, as it does to all of us who live long enough to get there. (My automatic response whenever someone says something like, “It’s hell to grow old,” is, “Yeah, but it sure beats the alternative.”)

The weather could also be a factor. Moving from Minnesota to Georgia is a pretty big change, although we’d be dealing with the heat and humidity right now even if we were back in Minnesota.

Another reason could be that my husband and I just bought a new mattress for our bed. It’s possible that we didn’t get the firmness exactly right, and that could be contributing to my being a little stiff and sore when I get up in the morning.

Ironically, the health club we joined as soon as we moved to Georgia could be a contributor as well. I tried to be careful when I started out on new machines, working up gradually in intensity. But perhaps I wasn’t careful enough.

While I’m trying to figure out what’s causing my aches and pains – and, more important, how to get rid of them – I’m looking on the whole experience as a new adventure. Exploring, experimenting, and researching new options. Trying out different machines and weights at the health club. Stretching consistently and conscientiously before and after each workout. Doing the core-strengthening exercises I was taught years ago after a back injury.

I may have to sleep on the guest bed or the sofa for a few days to determine if our new mattress is a good guy or a bad guy. And while I’m at it, I’ll make more of an effort to stay hydrated, and out of the sun during the hottest part of the day.

I’m hopeful that one or more of these will have me feeling like my old self again in no time. Or eventually, at any rate. In the meantime, I’ll keep a positive attitude, and do whatever else I can think of to get and stay healthy and strong.

“Just trying to stay alive,” is a good start. But there’s a lot more living I want to do.

July 21, 2017
©Betty Liedtke, 2017

Do you have any ideas and suggestions for dealing with the aches and pains of growing older? I’d love to hear them! Please be aware, however, that all comments will be moderated and approved before appearing on this blog, in order to protect all of us from unwanted spam.