Quick test: What is the best part of being a father or grandfather? It’s the children or grandchildren of course! Is there anything that keeps you feeling younger than interacting with your loved ones?
Your options are limitless. Play a game of H-O-R-S-E with your son on the hoop in your driveway. Try your luck at Hopscotch with your granddaughter. Take your grandson on a hike to see a waterfall or some wildlife. Play the back 9 of your favorite golf course with your daughter. Simply chase them around your backyard or help them catch lightning bugs at dusk.
Is there a better way to spend your day than being outdoors with your kids and grandkids? Is there something stopping you from doing it more often? Do you ever have to tell your loved ones “No” because you simply can’t keep up? The disappointment on their face can be devastating, but your back, knees, or feet just won’t allow you play another game of tag or to toss the baseball around in the backyard.
Regardless of your age, how can you take steps to ensure you can always say “Yes”? Don’t let pain prevent you from building memories and being a significant part of their lives.
The mistake that many people make is misdiagnosing the cause of their pain. Just because your back hurts doesn’t mean you need to treat your back. Quite often your knee, hip, or back pain is actually caused by your feet. Foot care is critical, especially as you get older.
Stop Those Dogs from Barking – Foot Care
As you age through your adult life it is important that you monitor your foot health. Ultimately, it comes down to two critical items: Pay attention to the shoes you wear and listen to your feet.
First, lets talk about the shoes you select to wear. Young adults often make the mistake of picking shoes based on fashion and ignore function. We aren’t saying you can’t look good, but you need to make sure your shoes properly fit. Be smart about when you wear formal dress shoes. If walking is involved in your formal activity, you may need to bring a pair of tennis shoes and “make a switch” when it is time to walk between bars or restaurants. Pain in the arch of your foot means something isn’t fitting quite right. Shoe decisions you make in your 20s can cause you problems in your 80s (or even your 40s)!
Second, if your feet are tying to tell you something, make sure you listen. Hygiene is critical to the health of your feet. It is important to keep them and clean and as dry as possible when wearing shoes and/or exercising. Pay attention to how your feet look and feel following each activity. Are they sore? Do you have any blisters, calluses, or ingrown toenails? All of these are indicators that something is wrong with you shoes and can lead to long term foot-related issues. It is also important that you stay alert to symptoms such as discoloration, cold feet, or “pins and needles”. These could be warning signs of poor circulation, which can indicate more serious health issues.
Finally, foot care becomes more important as you get older. Your feet won’t recover as quickly as they did when you were younger and poorly fitting shoes will cause more pain. We know it might sound boring, but a set of custom insoles could be the best Father’s Day gift you ever give!
Keep Your Entire Body Strong
We spent a lot of time above talking about your feet, but of course you need to focus on your entire body’s physical health if you want to be tossing the baseball in the backyard with your grandchildren. Do you commit to an exercise program every year as a New Year’s resolution? How long do you stick with it?
What you need is a permanent change to your routine. We have a couple ideas to help you be successful. First, do you have a few minutes every morning? Do you have time for a daily stretching routine? As our bodies get older many of us lose flexibility and this can lead to both injuries and soreness. A 10–15-minute stretching routine that you perform each day can be life-changing. Do you want to “kick it up a notch?” Consider some Yoga before your morning coffee.
Why do most people struggle to maintain their exercise program? Short answer: they don’t enjoy it. It will be very challenging to force yourself to consistently perform an activity you dread. If you hate jogging, don’t plan to jog to stay in shape. The key is to find something you love that will also help you keep your body strong.
For example, do you enjoying playing golf with your friends? Instead of renting a cart, commit to walking when you play. If you play 18 holes you will walk 5-7 miles! Do you enjoy birdwatching? Incorporate some hiking while you try to get that perfect picture of an American Goldfinch. Another idea is to create support and motivation for your fitness goals. This can be as simple as building a group of friends with similar goals. You will have more fun exercising as a group and you can hold each other accountable. We can all use a pep talk from time to time.
Keep your entire body strong and you will always be ready when you child or grandchild wants to play.
No Timeouts – Stay in the Game
Your kids and grandkids can either keep you young or make you feel old. The determining factor is your physical health and your ability to “keep up” with them. Kids have a ton of energy, but you can do it! Time with them is priceless and you don’t want to have to call a timeout to rest.
Of course, it helps to be in great physical shape, but foot care can be the determining factor. It can be hard to enjoy your afternoon with your loved ones if your feet are throbbing or you lower back is hurting due to a lack of arch support.
Buy the correct shoes, make sure they fit you properly, check for sores or blisters, and add additional arch support if needed. Take care of your feet so you can take care of your loved ones.
One thing is true of all children – they grow up way too fast. Don’t miss it! Don’t be on the sidelines! Stay in the Game!