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Walk for your life
Walking around the Capitol with Mercer Island Mom’s gun safety lobby exhausted me. When I returned home, I joined Mercer Island Fran Call’s Soul Mates walking group.
It is a senior crowd, and the first day I learned I could not keep pace with them either. It was more proof I needed help, lest I wind up in some outrageously unhelpful institution that will quicken my demise.
Fran’s Soul Mates are my peers. Most are 70-ish. They are teaching me that walking is healthy. It demands an adaptive response from our bodies, and that response outlasts the effort. My new friends have shown me that remaining active as we age proves that there is little decrease in muscle strength or performance.
These men and women are proof. There was a dearth of talk about heart disease, stroke, diabetes and the other evils attendant to aging. As for talking, they walk fast and never stop talking.
Their effort is also modest. They are not triathlon types, but their effort yields great benefits.
They are evidence that walking compels the heart, brain and lungs to adapt. It makes us feel better longer. I learned that 75 years olds, who are active, but not athletic, tend to remain so into their 80s.
The older we get, the more we need exercise, and it is never too late to begin. It is as good for the mind as it is for the body.
Exercise is neither for sissies nor the weak spirited. It requires and nurtures virtue. It builds courage and provides the capacity to keep our fears in check as we age.
It provides wisdom. Fran’s Soul Mates are neither excessively nostalgic, nor do they have regrets.
Humor? They have an over abundance of it.
Gratitude, patience, resignation, acceptance? They have it all and cheerfully accept discomfort knowing it is inevitable.
They know they are living in a new era. Our later decades have a new meaning, and the expectations we impose on aging are evolving. We have high hopes and fears.
It is a consequence of modern medicine’s transformation of the trajectory of life and modern culture’s emphasis on independence. Fran Call’s Soul Mates know that each part of life is a season, and the virtues they possess allow each season to be enriching.
Find out about how to join Sole mates through the Mercer Island Parks and Recreation department at www.mercergov.org.