This is a story of two spaces:
At the front of my house, in a corner of the living room that I affectionately refer to as my “office,” is my laptop. That is where I write or, more realistically, play around on Facebook, listen to music, read the news, and hang out for most of my waking hours.
And at the back of my house is a cheerful room with a couple of exercise machines. My husband uses the Nordic Track; and I—well, I prefer the Rower.
That’s not to say that I actually USE the Rower. I just prefer it. If I were ever to come in direct physical contact with any sort of healthful exercise machine, it would definitely be the Rower.
Now, though, a new study confirms what I have secretly dreaded: That my inertia has effects beyond a few extra pounds, but can actually affect my ability to think, to write, to live productively in my senior years. When my husband and I laugh because neither of us can remember a once-familiar word, I don’t need a dictionary—I need a workout!
CBS News reports on a study published March 23 in the online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. In the study, scientists found that older adults who reported either light or no exercise at all experienced a cognitive decline equal to 10 more years of aging when compared to people who were moderate to intense exercisers. But there is good news, too: The study provides encouraging information about the benefits of exercise for older adults.
So by maintaining an active lifestyle—by rowing, by walking, by working in the garden and jogging around the neighborhood—I ensure that I’ll be able to do those things I most enjoy, reading and writing and websurfing, well into retirement.
With that in mind, I looked around and found a couple of books to encourage healthy habits while embracing the mystery of the Catholic faith. Two birds, one stone!
The Catholic Workout. Build Your Body. Build Your Faith. by Michael C. Carrera, M.Sc. Carrera, a Catholic and a fitness expert, has found a way to use your body as an expression of love for Christ and as an opportunity to renew your belief in God, others and yourself. Far from a typical fitness-oriented book, The Catholic Workout involves performing five specific resistance training exercises while meditating on important events in the Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Michael leads by example, offering guidance through his touching stories and confessions. All you need is a Rosary, a set of dumbbells and thirty minutes three times a week to restore balance in your life!
The Catholic Ideal: Exercise and Sports by Robert Feeney. Remember that when St. John Paul II visited Denver, he went hiking in the mountains? We remember JPII in his last years, struggling with illness; but in his youth, the beloved pope was an active athlete. Feeney does a great job of encouraging athletes and everyone to care for both the body and the soul—and there is an introduction by Cardinal George Pell.
And I? Well, it’s springtime in Michigan! Time to dust off the Rower, and time to take a walk!