Happily Ever After

Running and Walking into "Older" Age with a Smile
 
By Julie Isphording

 
American actress Helen Hayes began acting at the age of 5 and didn’t stop until she was 85. She encouraged other aspiring actors and actresses to reach their goals, and she never let her age define her.

While you may not be an aspiring actor or actress, you should still strive to reach your goals, and you should never let your age define you. Especially when it comes to exercise. If you keep moving through the golden years, you’ll not only be a whole lot healthier, you’ll also feel more energetic and fulfilled.

Here are a few secrets guaranteed to earn you a lifetime of running and walking bliss:

Find joy in running and walking at your own speed. It’s not a race.

We all slow down as we age. It’s inevitable. So, if your enjoyment of running depends solely on fast times and measuring yourself against the clock, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. When you learn to appreciate even your slowest runs, you’ll be much happier.

Get stronger.

We all lose muscle mass as we age. That translates into a lower metabolism, fewer calories burned and, inevitably, weight gain. It also means your runs and walks are probably a little harder and you’re at a greater risk for injury. If you do some form of weight training or strengthening exercises two or three times per week — starting now — you can reverse the process. Better muscle tone will also help protect your bones and preserve your balance.

Take care of yourself.

A massage. A day off work. A vacation. These all might seem like indulgences, but the key to staying healthy is to gift yourself every day. This will help you deal with stress, fatigue and injuries that could ruin your run, or worse, your day.

Be social.

Run and walk with others whenever you can. People of all ages, sizes and shapes can be a wonderful support network, providing energy, inspiration and motivation — qualities you need at any age.

Keep going to the races. 

The camaraderie and spirit of a race will keep you excited about running, even when you’re no longer crossing that finish line as quickly as you did in the past. Grab your kids for a family race, run to find a cure for cancer, or race just because you want to run in the middle of the street.

Cross-train.

Too many people turn to cross-training only after they’ve become injured. By incorporating a day or two of cycling, swimming, yoga or Pilates into your weekly schedule when you’re healthy, you’ll help prevent both injuries and burnout.

Listen to your heart.

Learn to rely on your body’s signals, rather than some predetermined time on your watch or steadfast “rule” you have set for yourself. If you’re exhausted, give yourself a break. If you’re too tired, take a nap instead. Nowhere is it written or proven that this “game” is supposed to be serious.

Olympic marathon runner Julie Isphording is an award-winning syndicated radio talk show host, author and professional speaker and still loves running every morning.
 


Hitting a Home Run
 
By Felix Winternitz
 
 
When Thomas Turner showed up for the Major League Baseball press conference announcing that this year’s Civil Rights Game would be played in Cincinnati, he stood in some mighty powerful company: Frank Robinson, Muhammad Ali, Bill Cosby, Hank Aaron ... the list goes on.

The Cincinnati resident should be used to the media limelight. Now in his 90s, Tom “High Pockets” Turner played first base for the Negro League’s Chicago American Giants in the 1940s. He also played in the Mexican League and, in the 1950s, managed a semi-pro team, the Valley Tigers, in the Cincinnati area.

Turner credits the military for helping him find his talents: After attending the Tuskegee Institute, he joined the U.S. Army where he started playing first base for the infantry’s baseball team at Fort Huachuca, Ariz. He is now retired, living in Georgetown with his wife, Lora (nicknamed “Betty”). They have three children. In 1995, his last year as a volunteer softball coach, Turner’s team won the “Blue Chip Championship” at Expressway Park in Milford.

His favorite game: “A home game in Chicago during the 1947 season. Two friends from the Army had come to watch me play, and with 44,000 people in attendance, I hit a home run.”

His later career: “I worked for the City of Seattle Parks & Recreation Department, introducing women’s slow pitch softball teams.” (In 13 years, he grew the community league to 300 teams.)

What he does now: “I volunteer two days a week in nursing homes, helping out.”

What keeps him busy (and young at heart): Turner and other former Negro League players in the Cincinnati area have started SWAP, or Seniors With a Purpose, to reach the lives of young people who may be on the verge of trouble. He’s also been involved with DARE and, in 1996, received the Ohio High School Athletic Association State Award for Exemplary Contribution and Service.

An admirer: “He’s an incredible role model for youth,” says Dr. Nancy Linenkugel, former president of Chatfield College (where Turner has spoken to students). “When he couldn’t play for the Major League, he chose his own path to play baseball.”

On playing in the segregated Negro League: “We played baseball because we loved to play baseball. I love to play baseball.”

Learn more about Tom Turner and the Negro League in the exhibit Discover Greatness: An Illustrated History of the Negro Baseball Leagues, now on display at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.