Tick Tock Goes the Clock

Last week, I turned 48. I’m not excited about aging – not at all – but I am excited about being able to say “I can’t wait to turn 50, and I hope I can still run like I can today.”

I haven’t really paid much attention to the influence that our fitness levels have over us. Sure, I realize that it’s importance to say fit and active; we all know that. Sadly, though, I’ve watched the degeneration of someone very close to me and I can’t help but think “If only she were more active when she was younger.”

My mother has Alzheimer’s. She was diagnosed two years ago but the signs have been present for many more, perhaps close to a decade. Now, almost 72, she is living in her own personal hell. My children are nameless; she has difficulty remembering conversations that happened less than an hour ago; my dad is now referred to as “this man”. Mom’s energy is lower than it has been in years and it takes great effort to get her out of the house. Watching this change in a once very intelligent woman has been heart-breaking.

Like so many other crippling illnesses, no one knows the cause. We do know that the brain is much smaller than in a healthy adult’s and that cells are dying; both indicate that there is less blood circulation.

Looking back to my childhood, my mom was always busy doing “mom chores”. She drove us to lessons, cooked, cleaned, bought groceries, hemmed pants – everything a 70’s mom did and more. And she read – a lot. Busy and smart, yes, but, as an adult, she was never truly active. I can honestly say that I don’t think she ever did much to boost her cardio, to elevate her heart rate enough to create a healthy blood flow through her body.

Now, I can’t help but wonder if a more active lifestyle might have made a difference. It may have delayed Alzheimer’s onset. And it may have slowed its progression. But there is always the possibility that it wouldn’t have changed this at all.

However, seeing what I have and knowing what I do makes me realize how important it is that I remain active. Running and fitness clear my mind of the day’s events; they remove the negatives and make more space for the more important things; they give me time to think, to synthesize and to analyze life. If nothing else, they give me happy memories – memories that, I hope, will last a lifetime.

4 Replies to “Tick Tock Goes the Clock”

  1. I can sympathize with you about your mother. My Mom is going through the same thing…and yes, my dad (her husband of 67 years) is now “that man”. I live 500 miles away but get updates from my sister who is her/my dad's caretaker. It's just heartbreaking seeing someone who was once so vital basically becoming a child again.

    I'm almost 49 and I always tell my husband that I'm fighting old age as hard as I can!!

  2. So sorry about your mom. It is a terrible and horrible illness. My FIL is suffering through it in his own personal hell and I would wish this on nobody. I agree with staying physically and mentally active through every age. I hope to e running into my old age šŸ˜‰

  3. So sorry to hear this. I can't imagine. I do though see what you mean about being active and increasing bloodflow. Just another reason to keep on keepin on with the miles. Hugs to you!

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