Prevention is the New Sexy

Confidence, skill and style have always been sexy. Picture the sultry walk of Rita Hayward or the piercing look of self-assured Sean Connery. You don’t have to be a movie star to feel great about yourself and show it off to the world.

Last week at Menorah House, where I teach Tai Chi, I encountered their
monthly speaker’s series entitled “Safe Senior Sex.” Sex and living occur at
many ages. Being prepared—which was the speaker’s pitch—was key. Including
easy to open condoms.

Now I’ve got your attention because this month and this issue is about prevention.Fall Prevention.Which I hear is “not sexy,” but au contraire.

Once you do 50 hours of Tai Chi you do walk differently; you hold your
head comfortably and have a certain swing towards your destination. And if
you’ve taken any of the other classes such as Stepping On or Matter of Balance you are outfitted with all the info and tactics you need. That means you are prepared.

Not everyone prepares the same way. In fact, many let serendipity and a ‘what will be will be’ attitude rule the day. And back to sex, there are a whole lot of serendipitous offspring out there.

Okay so you haven’t been thinking about aging well or aging at all except to ignore it. Here are some things to indicate it’s time to reconsider.

• Difficulty doing something familiar, like hiking down a mountain. You used to do it without thinking. Maybe you even ran down the trail. But now you find that your upper body is going faster than your lower body and you are not in control.

• Your friends and family are encouraging you to take care of yourself. That’s a bummer.

• Neglect and avoid are your steadfast

• Lack of purpose.

In this issue, individuals have shared how they came to falls prevention (read Fall Stories). You could say “but for the grace of….” or “knock on wood” but you would miss that prevention is the new sexy. You will learn how they were better off once they became better prepared. Karen and Jean each tell their own story.

Karen appears to be doubly involved with meaningful activities now that she is equipped with a way to approach her walking around town. Jean, as you’ll see, has reclaimed a great life. It is the lack purpose in life that underpins aging with difficulty. [Check out recent NY Times article on Purposeful Aging by Amanda McMillian]

Then Jon and Annie were interviewed and you’ll see some additional considerations that I’ve added; some simple actions that may resonate with someone who has had similar experience. More importantly, what would you do?

What is decidedly unsexy is bitterness, lack of hope, and plodding along through life without a sense of purpose. Please don’t be overcome with this adversity—use one of the many resources in this AgeWell magazine and reach out. You will find others that want to move forward and do better just like you. And now back to where can I buy that T-shirt—“Prevention is the New Sexy.” And then meet me (or David, or other Tai Chi instructors) out on the floor.


Dr. Gretchen Swanson, DPT, MPH
creator of the Long Beach-based Health and Function blog:

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