SENIOR SCENE: Exercise is good, but not a cure-all


David Smith - Submitted photo
David Smith - Submitted photo

A couple of years ago, I purchased a life insurance policy so my wife could have a little extra protection in case something happened to me. The company I got the policy from has a program that provides discounts on the premiums if I document that I'm living a healthy lifestyle. This includes maintaining an exercise regimen that's monitored by a smartwatch. So, along with the life insurance, I now wear a smartwatch on my wrist.

I would have preferred to keep my old watch. It didn't nag me all the time. This smartwatch tells me when I haven't taken enough steps, when I need to get up and walk around, and when I need to exercise more. It even tells me if I slept well. All these years I thought I was able to figure that out for myself. I guess I was wrong.

Ironically, now that I have the watch, I feel like something's missing when I'm not wearing it. I'll get in the pickup to go to the store and realize I forgot to put it on, so I go back in the house and retrieve the blankety-blank thing. It won't count my steps sitting on the nightstand.

But I also noticed something else. The exercise this watch is nagging me to do helps me feel better. I have more energy, I'm sleeping better (the watch tells me so), and I just overall feel good. My feet even feel better.

I'm sure you've heard about studies that show how exercise benefits the way we feel, so I won't bore you with them.

If you would like to start exercising more, my smartwatch has some good advice. Every hour it tells me I need to stretch or move (then it gives me a smiley-face attaboy when I'm compliant with its command). Even a little movement every so often is better than no movement at all.

Exercise does not have to be strenuous, and it must never be risky. You're not training for a marathon, just moving around a bit more to feel better. Muscles are made to be used. They don't do well when they're not allowed to do their job.

And check with your doctor before starting any exercise program.

One last word, though. Exercise is good, but not a cure-all. Sometimes folks become depressed and can't seem to pull out of the darkness. When that happens, it's important to get help. If depression or anxiety is keeping you from living the life you want to live, give us a call at 622-3580. Perhaps we can help.