Use it or Lose it!

If you don't use it, you lose it

As I get older, the phrase “use it or lose it” is becoming more obvious. Not just the rusty physical parts of my body, but the mental parts like good habits, routines, and comfort zones too.

Highway Driving

I’ve never been anxious driving on the highways, in fact I much prefer it to city driving where you have pedestrians, bikes, and cars coming at you in all directions. When I moved to Ottawa from the much smaller town of Cornwall, I forced myself to drive up and down the Queensway (the major highway running east to west through the city) getting off each exit, then back on.

It feels like I hardly ever drive on the highways anymore, in fact, I’ve cut down considerably for almost two years now, since the pandemic shut us down in early 2020.

When I do drive on the highway these days, the first few minutes feel strange. And then the comfort and enjoyment return, the feel of the open road beneath me. The winding roads and the relaxing rural scenery are a bonus, although I haven’t seen much of them recently.

Organized Routines

When I worked outside of the home, especially when my kids were young, I was incredibly organized. At least when I look back to those days now, I think I was. Beds were stripped every Friday for a weekly wash. Grocery lists were mandatory, in preparation for weekly shopping every Thursday. Once the boys were out of diapers, bath nights were Tuesday, Thursday and Saturdays.

I learned that kids thrive on routine, but so do busy moms.

When I retired, and the kids were much older, routines flew out the window with the alarm clock. That might not be considered a bad thing.

Brain Power

How many of you reach for a calculator or your phone to figure out a mathematical equation, even the simple ones? I admit to forcing myself to use my brain power with a pen and paper to ensure I remember how to. It is so much quicker and more convenient to use the electronics so use it or lose it! Your brain power I mean.

One of the reasons I loved helping my granddaughter with her online lessons is that it forced me to think like a seven-year-old again. At that age, kids’ brains are like sponges, absorbing every tidbit of information they encounter. I like that feeling, and I really enjoy finding the right way to answer their never-ending questions. Do you remember how some teachers were so much better than others at explaining things?

Arthritic Joints

When I refer to my rusty body parts, I am talking about my achy, arthritic joints. My ankles, knees, hips and wrists are anxiously awaiting warmer, drier weather.

The problem with arthritic joints is that the less you use them, the harder it is to use them when you want or need to. It is indeed a vicious circle, but the trick (I find) is to make sure you keep using them.

Conclusion

Use it before you lose it!!

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#4 of 4 Healthy Resolutions for 2015: Exercise More

2kg hand weights and scale

Sorry, I had to include exercise as one of my healthy resolutions for 2015.  It is probably the most common resolution made, but also probably the least successful resolution.

Get Into a Routine

Exercise is one of those things that the more you do it, the easier it gets to be, and the less you do it the harder it seems to be.  As you age it seems to get worse, especially if you suffer from joint pain or other mobility issues.  I do suffer from mild arthritis, but I realize that the more I move, the easier I can move, and the longer I will be able to keep mobile.  The problem is finding the motivation to keep moving.  The trick, I think, is to incorporate some form of exercise into your daily routine so it becomes a habit instead of a chore.

In my very seasonal landscaping business, I have no trouble staying fit and limber from April through October, in fact, some days I put in six hours of gardening and then can hardly get out of my van when I get home.  When the season winds down late in October, my body seems to do the same. A poor excuse I know.

Walking is Great Exercise

Exercise does not have to be expensive or complicated.  My favorite form (other than gardening) is walking.  My husband and I try to get a one-hour brisk walk in every evening, but I must admit the cold and/or icy weather is certainly a deterrent. 

Yoga Stretches

Another form of exercise I enjoy is yoga.  During gardening season, I do yoga stretches before leaving the house in the morning and as soon as I return home.  If I forget to do this before I leave, my back reminds me within thirty minutes of work and then I have to quit earlier than anticipated.

Although planks are not considered to be yoga, I do add them into my stretching routine for extra work on core strength. Don’t be discouraged if you cannot do the planks for long at first; start slow and build up the seconds.

Get Addicted to Exercise

Whatever exercise regime you decide to pursue, remember that exercise can be addictive; the more often you do it, the more you look forward to it, and most importantly, the better you feel…

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