A dear friend of mine went through treatment for Cancer several years ago. As a part of her many rounds of tests, it was found that she had better than average bone density. Like, the bone density of a teenage boy. She attributed this to a life of being active, bike riding, and serious gardening.
After taking a medication for several years which can affect bone density, hers still tested as good. Some density loss, but it was still good. This year, tests showed that her bone density had actually improved. After just getting off the medication, she attributed her bounce back to working out and getting back to serious gardening as soon as she could. It struck me as quite a remarkable story of both prevention and healing after trauma.
We just can’t say enough about being active. At any age, and at every age. Movement really is medicine.
A recent study shows that dancing may be the most effective exercises for slowing down the aging process. (1) Not to mention the most fun! The combination of memorizing choreography, balancing, and listening to music proved a greater health benefit than doing sports in this study of seniors being active.
Dancing is also recommended to help prevent osteoporosis. The top 3 exercises to prevent osteoporosis and build bone mass and density are weight-bearing, resistance, and flexibility. (2) As a weight-bearing exercise, dancing is an excellent option. For resistance training, many gyms offer water aerobics, which makes your muscles work harder. Yoga and Tai Chi are great was to improve flexibility and help keep your bones strong.
Exercise doesn’t have to mean lifting a lot of weight or running, especially if that doesn’t feel possible. The important thing is to be active regularly, in ways that are enjoyable. If setbacks or health challenges occur, like to my dear friend who had to let her garden grow wild while she navigated a health crisis, it is therapeutic to get back to what you love and enjoy in motion. Take a walk outside. Feel the breeze on your face, and feel the grace and gift of living deep into your bones right here, right now, this day.
My acupuncturist often starts a session by inviting me to arrive. To intentionally climb deep into my body, down into my toes, like getting cozy into a sleeping bag. To let the strength of the chair or table hold me. So that I can rest, fully. And then, when I’m feeling ready and restored, I can rise back up and move about my day.
Some days are setbacks. Some days we can move forward, light on our feet. Whatever our age, life can be danced, like a Foxtrot. Quick, quick, slow.
With gratitude for the moment and in the holiday spirit, we will pause and take a little dance break with you, Seattle.