One of the best things about being a public employee retiree in Colorado is that PERA provides a free membership to Silver Sneakers. If you’re not a senior citizen like me, you might not know about this program which offers free membership to thousands of gyms around the country for (as they describe it) baby boomers and beyond. Quite frankly, I’m not sure there’s really a “beyond” from baby boomers, but I’m not their marketing director. The bottom line, however, is that Silver Sneakers is the second best thing about growing old. The first, of course, is what used to be the $10 lifetime National Parks pass that was available to people 62 and older. That price has now increased to $80. Still a smokin’ deal, but not as smokin’ as $10.
As a result of my Silver Sneakers membership, I belong to not one, but two gyms. Two, because there are no LA Fitnesses in Denver and there are no 24 Hour Fitnesses in AZ. So I belong to both. And Silver Sneakers pays for both of my memberships. Sheer awesomeness.
Except, of course, that right now I’m using neither gym because of my self-diagnosed bursitis. Not only am I unable to exercise right now, but I have a condition that makes me feel like Granny Clampett. By the way, please don’t tell Silver Sneakers that their membership fee is currently going to waste because I promise I’m going to go back just as soon as I’m no longer Granny Clampett.
As a result of my membership, I get a regular email from Silver Sneakers that provides interesting and pertinent information to people of my generation. A recent email, for example, offered suggestions on how to strengthen your thighs – not to look better (that ship has sailed) but to make it more likely that you won’t break a femur bone or be unable to pick up your 3-year-old grandson who is in the 97th percentile for height and weight. Just sayin’…..
The email I received yesterday was entitled Things People Who Feel Half Their Age Do Every Week. I would like to feel half my age, I thought. Plus, it looked more interesting than the following article entitled What to Eat Before and After a Cardio Workout, because I’m pretty sure it wasn’t Dunkin Donuts.
Here were a few of their suggestions, and how I plan on incorporating them into my everyday life:
- Hang Out with Older and Younger Crowds
Silver Sneakers suggest that by hanging out with only people of your age, you will only do people-of-your-age activities. People at least a decade older will expose you to their wisdom and to different attitudes. Like crabbiness. Because it sure seems that the majority of folks I see in the grocery store who have come off of the retirement center bus are grouchy and WILL HIT YOU WITH THEIR GROCERY CART IF YOU GET IN THEIR WAY. I will stick to hanging out with Bill (who I am always quick to point out is 11 years my senior. And not crabby. As for younger crowds, I have grandkids ranging in age from 3 to 14. They count. Don’t tell me they don’t.
- Embrace Newness and Change
Now, newness and change are all well and good, but the reality is if I change up anything very much, I will never remember where I put it/how to do it/what it’s for. Silver Sneakers says that when we change things in our lives, our brains rewire themselves, making them form new synapses, which is apparently a good thing. So I am committed to changing my gin martini to a vodka martini every other day. I might even substitute a lemon twist for the olive. Keep firing, Synapses!
- Move as Much as You Can
Everything counts, according to Silver Sneakers. So I will keep my gin in my closet upstairs and my vodka in my storage room downstairs. Not only will this require me to walk stairs, but I will have to remember which place I put which liquor bottle, thereby making my synapses fire even more. Neighbors might even call the fire department.
- Never Consider Yourself Old
Okay. I’m not considering myself old. My kids and my grandkids, however, think I’ve got one foot in the grave. They have the retirement home on speed dial.
There were plenty of other suggestions, and in all seriousness, they are pretty good ideas. And they are ideas that I really do try to incorporate into my life. Laughing, keeping busy, having fun are great goals for baby boomers and beyond. Whatever that means.