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Nov. 26, 2020 | Thursday
Editorials and Opinions
The Retirement Podcast: Should seniors engage in regular exercise?
Supplied photo.

Mike Keenan
Special to The Lake Report

What do the following professions have in common: mortician aka funeral director, pathologist, gravedigger, mourner-greeter, makeup artist, hospice aide, floral designer, obituary writer, embalmer, crematorium technician, coroner, monument engraver and/or manufacturer, cardiac surgeon, ambulance attendant and stretcher-bearer?

If you guessed that the over-riding theme was exercise, then you are correct. When seniors engage in vigorous exercise, these awful occupations are soon to follow. Let me explain.

In the old days, before 1956, when TV remotes were invented, people didn’t have to exercise. Their physical lifestyle was sufficiently demanding. They didn’t have to pay annually for a gym membership with complimentary towels.

TV personality Ellen DeGeneres offers a good take on exercise. She says, “My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was 60. She's 97 now and we don't know where the hell she is."

Astronaut Neil Armstrong chimed in with, "I believe every human has a finite number of heartbeats. I don't intend to waste any of mine running around doing exercises."

Why waste heart beats? I agree. If I was going to waste heart beats, I’d watch a Brigitte Bardot film.

I do not want to sound authoritative, but I should mention that I have a university degree in physical education. I know what I’m talking about. For example, there are two types of exercise – aerobic and anaerobic.

Aerobic exercise is performed while wearing Spandex, sometimes accented by a tasteful sweat band; all other forms of exercise are anaerobic. Spandex is an anagram for “expands.”

This does not auger well for one’s appearance, so aerobic exercise should be avoided at all costs. The other danger is that during exercise, chemicals called endorphins invade your blood vessels and tend to build up and cause a beatific look on your face, which makes it seem that you are ready and willing to expire. I could mention other disturbing items like the pooling of lactic acid, but there is no need to flaunt my extensive anatomical and physiological knowledge. 

Nike assists athletes by providing exercise footwear and clothing. Its motto is “Just do it.” Be forewarned. If you choose to just do it à la Nike, it might set you back $200 for running shoes and another $200 for clothing. So, $400 for just doing it. 

An unfortunate consequence of exercise is that it produces perspiration commonly known as sweat. I recommend the “no sweat” approach for seniors. Especially in winter. Sweating will dramatically increase your exercise budget because you will have to add myriad antiperspirants that contain aluminum salts designed to reduce sweat. That alone (aluminum salts) should be enough to discourage exercise.

With exercise, trends emerge like hot yoga or yoga performed with goats or some other strange animals. I tried yoga. It’s composed of multiple asanas or poses, which are quite popular among extroverts.

I became proficient posing as a eucalyptus tree, but nevertheless, as a precaution, each day, I arrived at class with a shoehorn and a bottle of extra virgin olive oil. I did not want to get stuck in one of those frightening-looking yoga pretzel-like postures. 

My favourite form of exercise is gardening. I love to till the earth, which is where I’m going to end up, but I guess I should conclude on a more positive note by mentioning that exercise is often linked with good sex.

Nonetheless, I must warn seniors that your partner will not respond well in the bedroom if, before sex, you have to first perform 15 minutes of stretching warmups. Calling it “foreplay” will certainly lead to disastrous results.

The bottom line is that exercise is essentially attitudinal and someone once suggested a very practical approach to exercise: Instead of calling your bathroom the "John" call it the "Jim." That way it sounds far better when you say, “I go to the Jim first thing every morning.” 

FEEDBACK: Regarding a letter, "Opinion column showed left-wing bias," published Oct. 15 in response to my last column, I'd like to say it’s invigorating to receive fan mail from Glendale. Under what conditions was it written, I wondered. Could the writer be afflicted with pandemic paranoia? Kidding aside, does he understand analogy and satire? His belief that nobody places money before life is far funnier than anything in my piece given the likes of “Novichok” Vlad and Donnie “Bone-spurs” who rule in the east (left) and west (right).

Mike Keenan belongs to the NOTL Writers’ Circle. Follow his podcasts: The Retirement Coach: and Travel: . His book, Don’t Ever Quit: A Journal of Coping with Crisis & Nourishing Spirit, is available in in print & electronic format at Amazon.