What Grandma Flossie taught me about exercise the old-fashioned way.
By Stephanie Wolfe
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 a workout room and I am down there about 60 minutes a day in an effort to maintain my 61-year-old “America’s Next Top Model” body (not)! But I can’t help but think about what 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 to 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 envision 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 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 half-mile) on the side of the two-lane highway (there was no sidewalk, mind you, actually on the roadway), in grandma shoes and all!
Grandma Flossie and I believe in fitness the old- fashioned way. Just move! No gym membership or expensive equipment 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, and probably right after they left that day.
I encourage what I call “Flossie Fitness” (fitness the old- fashioned 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 with 80% of the preventable diseases that we suffer with 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?”
Stephanie Wolfe, The Whole Foods Health Coach
Stephanie Wolfe, NBC-HWC, is Gwinnett County’s only National Board-Certified Health and Wellness Coach. She holds credentials from the National Board of Medical Examiners, and is a Master Certified Health Coach with Dr. William Sears, MD. Her advanced training, professional resources and personal experience have proven successful in assisting her clients to correct health issues, reach weight goals, and optimize wellness at any age or fitness level. WholeFoodHealthCoach.com