Family Day 2017 – Making it About True Love – Exercise
For family day 2017, make it a true celebration of family love. Show each other how much you want to keep them alive and vibrant, for as long as possible. Make exercise a family affair.
I truly hope this true story, hurts you to action…….make this the most meaningful Family day…
Two and a half years ago my dad had fluke accident in our home, at the age of 87 he fell and broke his leg. Well, my dad is an avid tennis player, gym enthusiast, has a Nordic Track in his bedroom, and takes bike treks with his buddies (the ones 20 years his junior) for hundreds of kms. Even at his age, he had a fabulous recovery, blowing the minds of all health professionals who worked with him. Because he was (and still is at 89) an incredible athlete and remarkably fit, he had a full recovery, Thank God.
When this happened, as can be expected, my mother who is 8 years his junior, freaked out. She has always been, since I have know her, to be a chronic Jewish mother. Being the diligent, brilliant wife, she stood by his side, panicked with every movement, ache and pain. Let me mention a few minor details.
There is a live in housekeeper to help
There are 3 major exercise machines in that house: the Nordic Track, a treadmill and a recumbent bike. There are weights, resistance bands, lots of stairs connecting the 3 levels of the home ….zero excuse not to exercise
At this time, my mother also had a gym membership to a club 4 km from their home. She and my dad have a bicycle built for 2 that they regularly attracted smiles and coos from all, seeing a couple at their age, riding together. They actually looked like the hottest couple you could imagine.
I encouraged my father to continue to do exercises from his bed, knowing that irrelevant of his injury – his body was still depending on all that physical activity, and will not respond kindly if he just quit. Mom stood vigil by his bedside….worrying, nagging….as could be expected. I got after her to continue going to the gym – she loved her zumba class and had a few favourite machines. She refused to leave my father at all. He pleaded with her to go and look after herself (I think he also wanted the break!), being without any doubt the most stubborn person that ever walked this planet – she still refused. We all reminded her there are exercise machines in the house, multiple ways to exercise at home. BTW, my mother gets on a home machine, and suddenly 3 minutes converts to 30 minutes in her mind.
That was the beginning of the end, and nobody can convince me otherwise. Her physical activity came to a screeching halt, and since then she has had sporadic, at best, exercise and physical activity.
I begged, pleaded, showed her the studies on exercise against aging body and mind, chronic diseases including cancer, heart disease, Alzheimers, osteoporosis….we know the list goes on and on. She would try and convince me she exercised, I knew what she called a workout, I saw it many times. This is why I loved her taking the classes – it kept her going. I live 500 km from my folks, still,I skyped and spoke about it constantly with her. I got her to the gym when visiting me in Toronto, when I was in Montreal shamed her on to her home machines…. my dad was always after her – she always had a pathetic excuse….busy (really ?!?!?), tired (tired because she didn’t exercise) waiting for a phone call, the grocery delivery…..”I will exercise tomorrow!” – yes we all know what that means.
I have always said – there is one bad thing about exercise – that is, if you quit – your body has spiteful, retaliatory measures beyond the most devious, diabolical mind. Whether you have a broken leg, flu, busy schedule – your body does not care – it needs to circulate, refresh, respect and pamper that precious muscle mass……and yes of course modifications are necessary for every circumstance and condition. Exercise and physical activity are just as vital as breathing, eating, sleeping and brushing your teeth. Never quite exercising….if your child went missing, you would search with every breath inside. If you are short on time, have an injury,……You MAKE the time for physical activity. Not getting to the gym is NO excuse.
“The fitter you are, the harder you fall.”
– Harry Pino, a senior exercise physiologist at the Sports Performance Center at NYU Langone Medical Center
My mom had been a diabetic for about 30 years. She is a colon cancer survivor (23 years ago) – she is one of the great stories. Regular exercise, including both strength & cardio respiratory, are vital to diabetes and colon cancer prevention and recovery.
Over the last 2 years, I have watched her fall apart, mentally and physically. It is now happening at a gasping speed. The neurodegeneration is devastating, clearly evident to all eyes. She cannot climb stairs, her biomechanics are so wonky that her walking is atrocious, destroying joints and causing intense pain. She is popping pain killers now, which my dad controls. She cannot get in and out of a bath, get off the toilet alone, her ability to remember, calculate, function is heart breaking. She was always the Scrabble queen…..that has gone with the muscle. Use it or lose it is a guaranteed fact about muscle mass. We have to use it much more (more does NOT have to mean intensity) as we age……
This is not a necessity of “old age”. A gentleman in my gym is in his late 90s and he runs up the stair master and makes us all feel like slack offs. Look at my dad. Sure, many of us know it gets more challenging as we age to keep fit, and the term fit is going to evolve and be defined differently as we age.
We don’t have to go to a gym to exercise. If you have time to breathe, you have time to exercise. If you have time to watch television or a social life, you certainly have time to exercise. Instead of that movie marathon on family day 2017, see how long you can all keep physically active together.
Someone keeps you on the phone? Get up and walk while they blab. You’re a busy mom? The very best gift you can give your child is you.
Ya know, my mom use to tell me all the time when my kids were young and I had to earn the living and raise my kids, I was terribly sleep deprived….she always told me:
“Shira you are no good to anyone dead.”
Author, My Mom
This is so unnecessary. Again, there is zero doubt in my mind this avalanche started when she quit exercising. I don’t believe in coincidence. My Rabbi once told me “coincidence was God’s way of remaining anonymous”. Maybe the exercise was staving off impending doom, we do not know. But I do know that this was the beginning of all of our heartache. I cry multiple times a day, as I work with people that were stricken by disease, and I watch the magic of exercise. I know I’m being a bit spoiled here – I am in my mid 50s and have my mom, unlike many of my girlfriends. This disintegration of her mind and body, was completely unnecessary – dare I say with my own mother – lifestyle induced. Then again, the CDC does tell us 80% of chronic illness could be prevented with appropriate lifestyle choices.
Exercise is truly our BFF in life. If you think “I tried exercise and it didn’t work” please think beyond the superficial. Think about muscles, bones, blood, heart, kidneys, liver, DNA, telomeres, cholesterol, immune function, brain, cognitive function, prevention of carcinogenesis, how many medications would be irrelevant with exercise……even if you don’t know what some of those are. Think about the very best possible Anti aging serum – we can all appreciate that.
I believe every miserable situation must have a silver lining that we have to seriously dig to learn. I am writing and publishing this with the hope it can be a silver lining to many people, and give them a massive kick in the … to exercise irrelevant of their excuses, or be successful in getting their loved ones to exercise.
Breathe life, exercise faithfully, be loyal to yourself and all those that you love. Exercise is beyond any shadow of a doubt, life’s breath.
The very best way to show love for another is by nurturing their health. Truly celebrate family day 2017 – celebrate your lives together as a family with exercise! I am spending family day 2017 with my mom and dad and all grown up sons…there will be exercise (and Scrabble)!
I can’t make this stuff up – Check out the science….have a wonderful, meaningful family day!
Shira Litwack – founder Best In Health Radio & Cell-Being – Best in Corporate Health, family day enthusiast
Corporate Health Programs – What an Incredible Way to Make the World A Healthier Happier Place…..so we make them affordable to EVERYONE……Shira@BestInHealthRadio.com
Shira Litwack, Medical fitness professional |Cancer Exercise Specialist|Personal & Corporate Health Coach | Fitness For Disease Recovery| Industry Expert Cancer Exercise| Health and Fitness Professionals’ Educator|Speaker
Director of International Relations Cancer Exercise Training Institute Master Trainer
Radio talk show host/Guest/Producer Health & Fitness Radio
BSc Psychology & Chemistry| Medical Exercise Specialist|Holistic Nutrition| Addiction Recovery|Total of 18 exercise designations
Articles featured in: ezines, ArticlesInk, European Registry of Exercise Professionals, The National Post, Investment Executive Magazine, Directory of Greater Toronto, Canadian Leukemia & Lymphoma Association, Prostate Cancer Canada, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, Anytime Fitness, Today’s Black Woman, Today’s Seniors, Fitness Clubs of Canada, Medical Fitness Network, Recovery on Water, Willow (Breast Cancer), Sirius XM Doctor Radio, FORCE (Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered), Cancer Exercise Training Institute, Urban Poling for Breast Cancer Recovery,