‘Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night’
An Article by Andrea Erickson
“Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
Dylan Thomas wrote the beginning to this beautiful poem in 1951 as he lamented his father’s loss of health and strength, and encouraged him to cling to life. It still sends chills through my veins, and his lament still applies today.
We’re all getting older – it’s a fact of life. But, we don’t have to walk gently and quietly into our “good night” - we can ‘rage’ by getting stronger, and enjoying these ‘golden years’ with renewed vigor and fun!
So, how do you do this? How do you start getting stronger? You don’t have to join a gym and start lifting weights, necessarily. It’s as easy as getting up from your chair and walking! Stretch your legs! Move your arms and shoulders! Dance! If you’re confined to a wheelchair, or have limited mobility, find a group that caters to your specific needs. You can find many options at your local Senior Centers, or other State Agencies that cater to younger and older seniors.
According to the National Institute on Aging, to get all of the benefits of physical activity, try all four types of exercise — 1) endurance, 2) strength, 3) balance, and 4) flexibility. Your local health and exercise centers can help you develop a plan that works for you. It can be as simple as taking a walk on a regular basis, or as challenging as riding a bike in a gym, lifting weights, or taking part in water calisthenics. A trainer can set you in the right direction – safely.
According to AARP, the benefits you’ll receive by staying active are proven: activity breeds increases in strength and flexibility. Whereas, physical inactivity can cause muscle loss and increased frailty. You also don’t need to break out your gym clothes every day - two or three times a week will keep your body agile and strong.
Regular exercise also helps to:
- Increase mental capacity
- Prevent early death or disease
- Improve healing
- Improve your quality of life
- Increase balance
- Increase life expectancy
So, stay fit! As Thomas says, “Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” The results are well worth it.
photo credit:Kara Newhouse via photopin cc