It is never too late. There are lots of strength training programmes now and many are based on decent research to show the benefits of strength training for older people. Not all of them are gym centred. Some are chair exercise classes and others are strength training around simple props like the stretchy bands. It makes a difference. It means older people are taking control of their health.It means they are stronger and more mobile. They are more comfortable walking around and doing their daily tasks and some are even participating in marathons and high level sporting activities. The research being done has provided solid information as to the benefits but it has also looked at the best ways to help older people engage in strength training. COTA is one of the organisations which offers strength training classes for older people. Older people need to keep their muscle tone and bone density. They need to keep their flexibility and balance. All these things are achievable with help and proper guidance and it is making life for older people more independent and positive.
I first heard the word “stuffocation” at the Living Smart course I attended last year. It’s a brilliant word and says so much. We are forced too much into consumerism. There is a frenzy about it and we are stuffocating in it because we now have rubbish disposal problems which have become nightmares. Our stuffocation has affected oceans , in particular, we have created great piles of e-waste which are hideous, our plastics are blocking waterways and decorating our landscape inappropriately and much of this plastic cannot be broken down easily or at all. There is no easy fix for this. Stuffocation is then a good word to remind ourselves what we are doing to ourselves. It is also a reminder we need to keep thinking and address the issue in a logical fashion so we can change our lives and world around and get the balance back. James Wallman has done much to get us thinking about the implications of all this stuff and then what we can do about it. For some reason I am not allowed to find the interview via WordPress on YouTube which features James Wallman and Lily Coleman. Treehugger explains the stance and rationale of James Wallman well and you can see that he advocates swapping things for experiences in order to create a better life with less waste. My own personal preference is for upcycling and repairing. Europe has gone big on repair cafes and I am hoping the trend will take off here. I love repairing things or repurposing them so they function in a different way and upcycling for many has become a very creative outlet for their skills and knowledge.
Germany has things called Schuttberge. They are made of all the rubble from World War II. The bombing was so severe and the subsequent rubble was so profuse, the Germans had to think their way out of it. There was nowhere to put it. Much of the rubble has been turned into Schuttberge. There is one called the Birkenkopf in Stuttgart. It is a place for people to get outside in the fresh air, to walk and ride trails and then to reflect on the meaning of war. It’s both a place to relax and operate as a memorial. You can read about the Schuttberge at Spiegel online. Why am I telling you this? Because I have been thinking about all the plastic, much of which will not break down. I blogged about how Adidas is recycling ocean plastic into sneakers – will they break down when their life is finished? Then there is much on the internet about the plastic bricks which may or may not be a fire hazard. People are thinking and we need to keep thinking. Plastic would be an insulator. Can plastic rubble not be turned into landscaping or safe building material somehow? Bike trails, parks, mazes, hills, waterproofing ? Could we not use all this plastic and turn it into something good like they have in Germany? Would it be suitable to stop degradation around beach and river areas? Could it be used to fill areas which actually need filling? Would it be safe? We need the scientists and environmentalists in on this. They would know what is feasible and what isn’t. Could it be used to build coral reefs? I feel sure now we need to get rid of plastic unless we can invent one that is safe for the environment. With war we do destroy the environment but we are doing that knowingly now just by daily living. We need to change our ways but we also need to work out a safe way to upcycle the things we cannot recycle. For the next while, at least, until we get smarter, we need to focus as much on upcycling as recycling.
According to the information under the video clip: In 2009, oil wells around the world pumped an estimated 84 to 85 million barrels out of the Earth, and countries consumed just as much [source: EIA]. That is a lot of oil. We still have oil but it is difficult to access and is encouraging practices like fracking which come with all sorts of concerning problems. It also has meant difficulty negotiating with areas of the world where the oil is because we are so oil dependant. Not having oil would impact on industry, the military, transport, electricity, asphalt, production of plastics and polymers, agriculture. It would create job losses. We pollute the planet so much because of oil but we seem to be locked into a mindset which says we need it. We won’t necessarily go backwards without it. We have the capacity to think our way through and find other fuel options which are more planet and lifestyle friendly. We also have the capacity to rethink our lives so they are not so oil dependant. Do we need all that plastic? Do we need to fly everywhere? Do we need to transport our food huge distances? Can we get to places without our car? That can be a hard one if we are leading busy lives. Public transport can make the day so much longer and , in some places, it is not an option. If you start work at 4am in Adelaide there are no public transport options. Public transport times and efficiency would have a big impact of how many cars we have on the road. People ought not to have to have a car in order to work. There are also implications within all that for personal safety . These are difficult problems but not beyond our bounds for resolving if we think about it. I haven’t yet heard any defence of leaving the oil in the earth because maybe the planet actually needs that oil in the ground as part of its survival mechanism. There is always an assumption we can take things out of the ground in vast quantities and it means nothing to a living planet. We don’t just need to think about oil consumption, we also need to think about preserving the place we live. It always surprises me we do things just because we can and then don’t think the process through properly so we look at implications and effects. It’s not rational to behave like that. We can do better and we could come up with things which suit us and our environment. Why not?
The Living Smart program started in Western Australia and has been well loved and well endorsed. It has made a difference to how people perceive sustainability and the environment. It has managed to allow people to see that working together as a community preserves an environment for the future as well as allowing an opportunity to live in a healthier more welcoming environment. There is a disconnect between the people who just want to make their money and run and those who want to be part of a growth mindset which enables us to live healthily and well on this planet for generations to come. The short term , quick reward approach is hard to counter since people find it very hard to resist riches and money. It is also really hard when working conditions make it so hard for you to relax and have free time. You just want to survive and follow the path of least resistance which largely means ignoring your footprint on the earth. Living Smart has allowed people to take a step back and get rid of the fear and procrastination and just do: find out that networking and being with others is how you manage some of it, if not all of it. We now have this course in South Australia at McLaren Vale, Unley and Glenelg. I have been lucky enough to be in the McLaren Vale course and already I can see I am in a room full of people with ideas, experience, a nice way of being and that invaluable attribute of enthusiasm. It’s that enthusiasm which forges a positive road forward in terms of sustainability and the environment. It’s not an alternative. It is. It is, because you can see and implement the options and find a way of doing that so that others can do it. I grew up in an Australia which cared about the land and knew so much about natural environments. We were then submerged in suburbs but that connection with the land is unstoppable. It is now burgeoning as ecoburbia.
I cannot say a lot about this. You just need to pause for 5 minutes and watch it. DNA is a powerful force for good. Who we are is our DNA. Such a powerful video.
This generation of older people are redefining and reimaging age. You have to grow in order to blossom and these women are blossoming because they are enjoying who they are…now. Chronology does not define you. Attitude does. They have a growth mindset and it shows on their faces and in their movements.