Food & Fitness After 50: It is OK to rest

fit bitIt’s early afternoon and my Fit Bit shows less than 2,000 steps today. By this time of day, I have reached my goal of 10,000+ steps. To be clear, 10,000 steps (equivalent to about 5 miles of walking) isn’t a one-way ticket to good health, but using a tracker helps me stay active and activity is one part of the equation for good health.

But, for the past 3 days, I’ve had this deep pain in my neck muscle and activity makes it worse. It started a few weeks ago as a minor ache. I attributed to carrying my overweight, bloated purse on my shoulder, like many women do. I changed that habit, but the pain stayed with me. Then, on Saturday, after an exercise class and an hour of pulling weeds, the pain got deeper, sharper, and more persistent. The only thing that helped was rest and ice. Even little things caused pain, like folding laundry,  vacuuming the layer of dog hair off the carpet, or emptying the dishwasher.

It is hard for an active person to rest when injury strikes. We think we’re being lazy, that we’ll get out shape, that we’ll lose all the benefits we’ve accrued by exercise, and maybe  that we will like rest so much we’ll stay inactive forever! shoulderpain

But, common sense eventually prevails as it dawns on us that resting is good for injury recovery. As someone who is constantly on the go, it is hard to sit down and rest, but if rest means less pain, then I’ll stick with it for a few more days.

In Food & Fitness After 50, the last chapter is devoted to food and fitness strategies for illness and injury because we know that stuff is going to happen as we age…even for those of us who eat and move well. After hip replacement surgery, I gave up running but found enjoyment in cycling, low impact aerobics, and swimming. So, patience, and rest, is a virtue that I will practice for a few more days until I figure this out. Well, that and a trip to the doctor.

I know this rest is temporary because I exercise in a group setting; I will miss my 8 AM YMCA friends too much to let this go on forever! See you all soon!

“You know you’re getting old when all the names in your black book have M.D. after them.”  Arnold Palmer, U.S. Professional Golfer