A major factor in my mother’s death was osteoporosis. It caused her spine to crumble when she slipped and fell in water on the bathroom floor. I have osteopenia, that state when the bones are beginning to show porosity. I think that’s why my doctor doesn’t fuss at me about my weight. “I’d rather you be strong than thin,” she says, conceding that being both would be ideal.
I’m holding off osteoporosis with calcium, vitamin D, and exercise, waiting as long as possible to take the strong drugs drug companies want us to buy. I belong to a gym, which I visit too seldom. But I do yoga about three times a week, and I’ve figured out that though I can no longer do pushups, I can do about 35 “pushaways,” standing back from the cabinets, hands on the edge of the countertop, while my oats cook in the microwave. The exercise strengthens my arms, legs, back and abdomen, and my last test showed actual improvement in bone density. Also—I have visible biceps.
My two grandsons both top six feet now, towering above my barely-over-five-feet. Both are sweet and intelligent geeks with no interest in sports. I’m fine with that. Even happy that they haven’t fallen for the propaganda that insists all boys must be athletes. But I have learned the importance of strength, and I’ve tried to get both of them to take weight training to build theirs. Neither paid much attention to me.
Then one day we were sitting in a Denver restaurant, and I said, “I’ll bet I can beat you at arm wrestling.” I didn’t really think I could; I just wanted to get their attention. They didn’t believe I could either. They laughed.
I beat them both.
If they let me win, they put on a good act, and I must have put up a better fight than they expected. They’ve both promised me they’ll look into that weight training.