The 4th quarter doesn’t have to be the last quarter

Dr. James B. Ewers Jr.

The 4th quarter doesn’t have to be the last quarter
March 28
10:00 2019

By Dr. James B. Ewers Jr.

I am a senior citizen and proud of it.

As I mused recently, I have been around a long time. God has allowed me to live a fulfilled and enriched life. And there is still some sand left in my hourglass.

Growing up in Winston-Salem, we had older residents in my East Winston community. For children like me, what was my definition of old? Upon some reflection now, did I base old on age, movement, looks, or speech?

Age came into play, yet we as kids didn’t know the ages of older neighbors. We didn’t hear people giving their ages. Why? Because we weren’t allowed in adult conversations. In fact, we had to leave the room when adults were talking. So was 50 years old? Maybe 60 years? What about 75 years or even 80 years of age? I gave some thought to the question of aging some years ago. I don’t wonder about it as much now because I am in it.

Movement, in the opinion of some, creates a perception of old age. Certainly in my young days, if you “looked” old and\or moved slowly, then I designated you as old.

If you had gray hair or spoke slowly, I would dub you as an older person. Now, especially from a hair perspective, having gray hair is not necessarily a sign of being an older American. There are young people who purposefully have gray hair. In fact, they have purple hair and green hair.

So it is safe to say hair norms have changed. Having gray hair back in the day was a sign of aging and wisdom. Today, it is a sign of the popular culture.

As a Baby Boomer, I looked at aging through a traditional lens. Aging gracefully was truly a gift of longevity and “good” living. There was a dearth of research on living into your golden years. To my knowledge, there was not a Council on Aging or an AARP (American Association of Retired Persons).

There wasn’t an Internet that was full of facts about how to slow down the aging process. We didn’t know about the benefits of apple cider vinegar or beet juice. I guess the long-standing view was that when you retired, you sat at home and watched the “young and the restless” become the “bold and the beautiful.”

We know now that Americans are living longer. Researchers at Harvard University in Massachusetts say you can increase your life span by three years if you exercise for fifteen minutes daily. Another report says that longer life expectancy is linked to a steady exercise regimen of about two and a half hours. And that people in their 70s who exercise regularly have the hearts and lungs of people thirty years younger. Wow! Are you kidding? No, I’m not.

I am a 4th quarter guy trying to get to overtime. Playing tennis over the years has really helped me, both physically and mentally. I use the expression “tennis for life” to describe my involvement in the sport.

Last year, I joined my wife in a stretching and aerobics class which is held at a recreation center in our neighborhood. I left our first class and met some muscles I didn’t know I had. The stretching portion is one hour, and the aerobics portion is one hour. When we finish, I’m cooked! You can stick a fork in me and call me done.

Our instructor, Carly Bourgeois, is excellent. She is a senior dance fitness instructor with the New Orleans Ballet Association (NOBA). We average between 50 and 55 seniors per week. It is the most fun and is as physical as you want it to be. Go to your community center and sign up. Mothers were right when they told us to eat our vegetables and that hated spinach. And an apple a day does keep you-know-who away.

We’re living longer. You see the 4th quarter doesn’t have to be the last quarter because we are headed to overtime!

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