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Flossie FITNESS: Exercise the Old Fashion Way

By Stephanie Wolfe, NBC-HWC

Exercise is an activity requiring physical effort, carried out to sustain or improve health and fitness.  Words like Workout, Fitness, Strength Training, Weightlifting, and Running sometimes make me cringe.  Don’t get me wrong, I have my workout room and I am down there about 60 minutes a day in an effort to maintain my 61-year-old “American’s Next Top Model” body (not)! But I can’t help but think about my parents, and my grandparents, especially Grandma Flossie, think of what we call fitness.  What would they think of treadmills for walking, ellipticals for climbing, rowing machines for, well, rowing, and weights for lifting heavy things?  I think they just walked, climbed, rowed, and lifted heavy things!  At least that is what Grandma Flossie would do, and I use her life as an example for my own.  My goal is to live to be 100!  I’ve seen it done, in fact, you might say, I’ve seen how it’s done.  I just ask myself WWGFD.  You guessed it, “What would Grandma Flossie Do?”

Grandma Flossie lived to be 102 (almost 103).  When she turned 100 years old, we threw her a birthday party, of course, and it was there that I met her two older siblings!  Yes, you read that correctly.

Flossie mowed her own lawn (in her work dress and grandma-shoes) until she was 95. I can still see her out there, fit as a fiddle!  Lest you see her atop a riding lawn mower, let me clear that up, it was a push mower propelled only by her push!  Once her mower needed the blades sharpened, so she called the local hardware store in the town she had lived for 75 years.  They offered to come to pick up the mower and bring it back to her for a $10 delivery fee.  Flossie wasn’t having that, so she walked the mower down to them (about a ½ mile) on the side of the 2-lane highway (no sidewalk, mind you, actually on the roadway) grandma-shoes and all!

Grandma Flossie and I believe in fit-ness the old fashion way.  Just move!  No gym membership or expensive equipment is needed.  Under protest, her family insisted on moving her washing machine and dryer up from her cellar (it was a real cellar with cement stairs).  They said they just didn’t want her to go up and down the stairs anymore, to which she said, “I’ll go up and down those stairs as often as I want to!” And I have no doubt that she did just that (probably right after they left that day).

I encourage what I call “Flossie Fit-ness” (Fitness the Old Fashion way).  Exercise is very important to your health.  I believe that fitness is less about what you do in the gym for 60 minutes, and more about what you do all day, every day.  Most of our grandparents and great-grandparents didn’t suffer from the 80% of preventable diseases that we suffer from today.  Maybe it is because they didn’t pay people to mow their lawns, clean their houses, or wash their cars, or pick up their push mower (WWGFD).

Try Flossie Fitness!  Clean your own house.  Mop your own floor.  Vacuum your own carpets. Move your own furniture.  Mow your own lawn.  Pull your own weeds.  Wash your own car. Walk your own dog.  Garden. Cook your own food.  Walk, Run, Climb, Row, and Lift heavy things.  And if it helps you, just ask WWGFD.

Other Tips for your fitness:

  • SIT UP STRAIGHT! Sit less, but when you do, sit up straight and engage your core.

Sitting is the new smoking, meaning it is just as dangerous to the body!

  • Park far away and leave the front spots for those who really need them, or one day you may be the one who really needs them!
  • Walk Tall. Walk like you own the place!!!
  • Focus on posture while standing, walking, sitting.
  • Use your entire body to walk, to go up steps, dry your hair, etc.
  • Do squats while putting dishes away or doing laundry.
  • Turn on the 60s, 70s, 80s music and dance around your house.
  • Take up a new hobby: tennis, walking clubs, etc.
  • Call your Health Coach!

We miss you, Flossie, but I will always remember sitting at your feet (literally) in your living room asking you questions and laughing at your perspective on life and times.  What a treasure those memories are to me.