I Must, I Must…Stay Strong and Fit by Dina Ramon
Every Saturday morning as I watch my daughter in her gymnastics class – cartwheeling and handstanding and twirling – with toes pointed and gaze focused, I recall my own fascination with gymnastics fondly but certainly recognize that my days of being that limber and light on my feet are long gone. But what I also get out of watching her, besides the happiness and pride in seeing her enjoy an activity so much, is that panic sensation of ‘I’m already an older mom, I’m not getting younger and I have to stay fit and healthy for my girl.’ This coming from someone who has been a dedicated runner for 20 years and mixes it up with yoga, biking, strength training and just about every fitness class that appeals to me except for zumba. I do just about anything I can to stay one step in front of an aging, tiring body. And everything works well for the most part. But that nagging fear is still there. The fear that I will injure myself or somehow be physically compromised and not be able to properly care for my daughter. The anxiety that I can’t stop a slide toward physical decline. I’ve experienced no major injuries but I’m already fated with bad ankles, both of which I have rolled a few times; rehabed them, then rolled them again. In recent years, I’ve fallen a couple of times when I was just walking and stepped on a twig or divet in the street. That’s a rude awakening, let me tell you. I’m no expert for sure but I know that you can’t dwell on the worry of what might happen down the road. As an older mom especially you need – no, it’s critical – to keep moving, build and maintain your strength, and challenge yourself to do more than what you think you can. Your body will often surprise you and go beyond any limits you think exist. That helps your emotional health, increases stamina to keep up with your child and may boost your ability to fight illness, whether basic cold or more serious chronic conditions. You don’t need a trainer, you don’t need a lot of equipment. What you must have is effort, every day – some how, some way – for the rest of your and your child’s life.