Zoomer Boomer: The triple-A terrible trio: Age, apathy, arthritis
Most Zoomer Boomers, especially those with New Year’s fitness resolutions, are very familiar with the AAA acronym. Not to be confused with anything remotely associated with automobiles, this triple “A” stands for Age, Apathy, and Arthritis, the terrible trio of best intentions gone astray.
There is no question that as we accumulate candles on the birthday cake, in addition to the increased fire hazard, certain physical changes will and do occur. From diminished eyesight to reduced hearing to simple metabolic resets, getting old is not fun, but it does beat the alternative (just consider this for a moment the next time you drive by a cemetery.) For many non-zooming Boomers, however, this inevitable decline in physical skills is accepted and, through non activity, actually accelerated. Fragility and feebleness become self-fulfilling prophecies. Zoomers recognize and accept the inevitability of this aging decline but mentally and physically adjust to it, some seemingly embracing it. Theirs is an infectious vitality that first starts with attitude.
This is where the Apathy obstacle rears its head. Progress can’t happen unless individuals make things happen and this simple connection requires a personal belief in importance. In some respects, we Americans view responsibility for our personal health much like we do the weather. Everyone talks about it and its importance but few do anything about it. Yet a very recent study indicated that simple changes in diet and exercise can add almost fourteen years to one’s life. Equally important, however, is the expectation that these additional fourteen years should be fourteen years of quality, not merely quantity. But the key in all of these lifestyle decisions always resides with the individual. The growing obesity problem in the US clearly indicates that ours is now a society that has abdicated this personal responsibility. Affluence allows us to “buy” more time but the quality of that time has to be earned through individual effort. It’s sort of like a golf swing. Money can buy the best clubs and access to the best courses but only talent and hard work will produce a good golf swing. Just think of Charles Barkley. Better yet, if you are a golfer never think of Charles Barkley.
Finally, very real obstacles to the starting of any physical activity program are the arthritic pain and discomfort many Boomers deal with on a daily basis. We naturally want to avoid causes of pain and so, the logic goes, if this movement fires up my arthritis and results in discomfort then I can simply avoid the pain by not doing it. Actually, movement is critical to combat arthritis for both muscle strength and weight gain avoidance. The good news is that the medical and pharmaceutical industries have certainly recognized the need for this pain alleviation. For many simply accessing this through their doctor is all they need to break out of the downward spiral. But the key is “to break out.”
Whatever activity you choose to pursue, it will only improve your health if you stick with it. And you’ll only stick with it if it’s fun. Forget the nonsense of the “No Pain, No Gain” mantra. Start with modest expectations, stick with them, and I guarantee that you’ll feel better and enjoy life more. And after all, unless you are entertaining delusions of having your own reality TV show, this is what it’s all about anyway.
Following a successful international business career, John Riddell turned his attention to small business/entrepreneurial pursuits that included corporate turn-arounds, start-ups, teaching as an adjunct business school professor, authoring noted business and sports columns, and serving as VP for the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce directing its Center for Entrepreneurial Growth. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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