Stay Active - Stay Sharp

No matter what age you happen to be right now, like the lyrics say in a song by the Swedish electro-pop recording artist Seinabo Sey, “You ain’t getting any younger, are ya?” Fact is, the older I get the more obvious – and frankly – frustrating that is. I was recently working on cleaning up along a fence and weeding some flower beds and simply hit the wall, so I quit for the day. But I didn’t let that keep me from finishing the job the next day. Why, you might ask, did I tackle that task myself? Well, at least in part, I did it to keep my mind sharp – and that’s a real concern for me. To be sure, we will all eventually age – both body and mind – but growing older does not necessarily mean that our mental abilities will be reduced.
There are numerous articles that one can read about the benefits of brain exercises to help you stay mentally sharp, but I found a really interesting article online at www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au about the mental benefits of staying physically active. According to that article, researchers now believe that many of the supposed age-related changes that affect the mind, such as memory loss, may actually be lifestyle related. So, keeping an active body is also important if you want to have an active mind.
Whatever form it takes, a really good goal for physical activity should be 30 minutes a day. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, three 10-minute sessions are just as beneficial as one longer session. But if you haven’t been active in several years, start out slowly – maybe with sessions of 5-10 minutes, and work up from there. Always get approval from your doctor before starting an exercise program, and don’t forget to stretch before and after your workout. Stretching improves flexibility and range of motion, improves circulation, and may reduce the risk of injury and muscle cramps.
Physically active living can help to reduce the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. It also helps you to maintain a healthy weight, assists in proper balance and posture, and helps keep healthy bones and strong muscles. Additionally, it can help reduce stress levels and minimize health related medical costs. The trick to staying active is finding something you enjoy doing. When we were a little younger – okay a lot younger – Shirley (my wife) and I played church league softball, tennis, and loved snow skiing. For me now, it’s playing golf, and yes, I actually enjoy working in the yard and getting my hands dirty. For you, it might be Pilates, yoga, a nice run or walk, or going to the gym.
Speaking of staying active, almost on a weekly basis I get asked the same question, “David, when are you going to retire?” Truthfully, I just don’t see retirement any time soon. As Shirley puts it, “David will never retire – they’ll have to take him out of the pharmacy on a gurney.” That might be a bit extreme, but I do love taking care of my patients in the pharmacy, and really enjoy the interaction with each person who comes through our front door. Those interactions stimulate my mind. As I think through each individual situation to come up with the best treatment plan, I’m helping myself while I’m helping my patients.
Speaking of staying active, you may have already heard that Smith Family Pharmacy will be moving to a new location later on this summer. We were recently presented with an awesome opportunity to double our space by moving less than a quarter of a mile up the street. In late September or early October, our pharmacy will be moving into the Daniel building at the corner of Dave Ward Drive and Nutter’s Chapel Road. It’ll be like “going home” for us because we’ll be in the same parking lot with my brother, Dr. John Smith, and a host of other great medical providers. We will have easier in-and-out access, better parking, a better drive through window, and a lot more room to expand patient care services. “Like” Smith Family Pharmacy on Facebook to keep up with our remodeling and relocation progress. All of us here are going to be really active until then!