The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Enid Features

April 30, 2013

Physical fitness: More than just exercise

— Are you physically fit? Think about it.

Jim has resumed his physical rehab at the usual place following his hospital stay. For a few weeks after his hospitalization, he received physical therapy here at home, along with home/health care. He worked hard to achieve his goals and was released from their care real soon.

We were ready to get back to the more difficult exercises. We are somewhat like those who stop smoking; we want to preach to the whole world about it. I just think everyone should experience the same euphoric feeling we get after exercising. It feels great to be tired from exertion and so revived when it is over.

Beside the wonderful exercise we experience, we have made wonderful friends. Everyone is so helpful and encouraging — many with more health problems than we have.

We can look around and see other people who really do not take care of themselves. It is never too late to begin. We can attest to that. If any of us are going to get into better shape and feel better, now is the time to begin. No point in waiting until we feel more rested or have all our work done, etc. That might never happen, so let’s get busy and start a fitness program right now.

In every magazine one picks up, there is at least one article about getting fit. It is fine to read these articles. I have read them all my life, but unless I do what those articles suggest, I am not benefiting from them. Somehow, just reading doesn’t get the job done!

Physical fitness is more than just exercising. There is the dreaded topic of eating right that figures in there somewhere. I mentioned in an earlier column that I have joined TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly). That has been a lifesaver for me. Not only have I lost some weight, but I have met wonderful, caring friends who encourage me and give suggestions and challenges.

I have learned to cook more vegetables and lean meats. I have learned that drinking water is very important. I have learned that Rome was not built in a day. I have learned that losing weight can be fun and healthy and not a torture.

There is an exercise for everyone. No one has a valid reason to not exercise. Oh, we may have a million excuses, but not one good reason. Even people in wheelchairs can use their arms. There are a few exceptions, but many of us hunt for excuses because exercise is sometimes a drudge.

If we look for an exercise or activity that is fun and find someone fun to enjoy it with, then we will look forward to the sessions and the results. Physical fits are fun!

We have a friend who has had several strokes. He also has diabetes and macular degeneration. He brings joy to others simply by talking on the phone. I have never heard him complain. He is not at all what most call physically fit, but his attitude is wonderful and he does what he can do to the best of his ability. He keeps moving when others would simply sit and watch television. Wouldn’t this be a wonderful world if there more people like him?

I never plan to be a marathon runner or a weight- lifter. Neither do most people. We just want to feel better about ourselves. We enjoy enthusiasm and a positive spirit. We like people and we like ourselves.

Far be it from me to preach to anyone about physical fitness, but I do think it is an excellent idea to at least take inventory of where we are physically. It has nothing to do with age or weight or abilities. It is more attitude and a desire to be healthier than we are now. It is all about wanting to have quality life and living it to the fullest. It is about quality as much as quantity of life.

I had a good teacher. Daddy was active up until the very day he died at the age of 96.

He was interested and interesting. He kept his mind and body busy. He had a great attitude. He loved working with his cattle. He enjoyed looking at his land and pastures. He took great pleasure in checking a wheat field or corn field. He wanted to know what was going on in the world. He ate well and enjoyed eating.

Daddy told great stories. He truly enjoyed life. Others enjoyed hearing about his life because he was so encouraging and entertaining. His stories of early Oklahoma were like reading a history book with every detail described like a painting. We saw and felt and smelled and tasted the details of his stories. He was a great example to others by the life he led and his outlook on life.

I only hope I can stay as healthy as he was all his life ... and that is up to me and how I take care of myself. I will never be skinny or young again, but I can exercise every day and watch what I eat and keep my blood pressure under control and be happy. I can keep a positive attitude and encourage Jim to do the same. He, in turn, encourages me.

I believe one of the reasons Jim responded to the wonderful medical care he received while he was so ill, was because he had spent the last few years doing exercises every single day. He took good care of himself and still does. I do think it pays to stay physically fit and he is positive and happy. It makes every day a joy.

This is no time to share a recipe for sugared doughnuts or something like that. It is easy to prepare meals with no fat. Vegetables are a breeze to prepare and salads are delightful, too. However, most dieters get hungry for dessert and feel deprived while others are eating cake and ice cream, etc. I want to share with you this recipe for gelatin dessert I often make.

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