A few months ago I was at a coffee shop when I overheard two young men having a conversation. One was lamenting to the other about his 50-year-old mother. I didn’t catch the whole thing, just this little nugget of wisdom, “As people get older their ideas tend to stagnate and calcify. Their brains fossilize.”

Now I’m sure there was more to the story, maybe even something that would have explained the young mans lack of trust in aging, but if I was hearing more of the conversation, I can’t recall. It’s quite possible that the words just couldn’t penetrate my 53-year-old mummy-like brain. I paid for my coffee and shuffled past the two Gerontologists.

Slightly offended and definitely sympathizing with the mother, I took some time to think about what the young man said, and sadly, I realized….. I kind of agree with him. Not that as we age our brain stagnates (and certainly not that fifty is old!) but that as we age we tend to seize up a bit. Not mentally but physically. We get stiffer and less fluid. We lose our freedom of movement. It’s as if we are stuck, blocked, or for lack of a better word, fossilized.

I see this quite frequently with my older dance and Pilates students. I’ve even experienced it myself. Somewhere along the road we lose the spring in our step, the grease in our wheels. Gravity takes hold and pins us down. We feel tired, sluggish, weak, and bound up. Our joints are spent. We are on a slippery slope to fossilization.

But guess what? Good news! You can Tin-Man up and oil-can the heck out of your joints. How? Motion! Motion is lotion. The motion I prefer is Pilates, but really any movement will do.  Every moveable joint in our body is lined with a thin membrane called the Synovium. When friction is applied this membrane produces synovial fluid and that fluid helps lubricate and nourish surrounding cartilage. In essence, you have to move your joints to move your joints. I!

Movement remedies more than just stiff joints and fatigue. It also facilitates a boost in confidence and self-esteem. It’s a perpetual circle where one activity feeds the other. Movement creates self-confidence which in turn creates more movement.

So get moving! Figure out what it is you like to do and do it. Walk, run, swim, hike, golf, practice yoga, Pilates, or Hula dancing. It doesn’t really matter. Our bodies are meant to move; we are built for it, and when we’re doing what nature intended we feel so much better. Movement is your ticket to a long, healthy, happy, supple life.

And remember, no matter what anyone says, you are too young to be a fossil!

xo Patti Jo

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