I often hear people ask why do people do what they do (yes, I’m guilty of this, too). I think a better question to ask is “Why not?” — depending on what those folks are doing, of course!
In the recent issue of Oxygen Magazine, a women’s body building and strength training magazine, I read a 33-year-old reader’s question about why a 99-year-old woman would want to still work out. My initial reaction was “Why the hell not?!” followed by “Well, obviously, she enjoys it!” and “I want to be like her if I reach 99!” Then I muttered derisively, “What are older folks supposed to do? Just rot, rust, give up, and wait for death?”
What really angers and saddens me is how pervasive it is in U.S. culture to view the aging and elderly in a pitiful, dismissive, or negative way. It’s as if reaching 50 years of age or more is the end of life and people are simply to stop living. I don’t condemn the young woman asking that “Why” question because she — as well as the rest of us — has been indoctrinated into falsely believing that reaching one’s senior years is somehow a bad thing.
I think the “bad thing” is the alternative to aging! None of us know what our expiration date is so why not live each day doing the things we enjoy with people we love or who share our joie de vivre?
I understand Oxygen Magazine’s response to the question (to engage more conversation with their target audience of women ages 25-54 on social media), but I believe the magazine missed an excellent opportunity to explore the topic of aging and fitness including women’s fears about aging, why beauty is only associated with youthful appearances, and why questions should even be asked about why an older person would keep up a fitness routine or participate in sport.
Perhaps one of the reasons for that 99-year-old woman’s longevity is because she’s working out and enjoying it! Who knows? But I know this: being fit and healthy will increase my chances to live an active and independent lifestyle for as long as possible.
I think that’s a good a reason as any to stay fit and active no matter what your current age is!