When my four Kids were little, running around and into everything, a friend would send her two children over to play and tell them, "Just keep moving. She'll never know you're there." Maybe that's why I'm so compulsive about counting noses in pens and coops now. No, wait. That's because one of my Kids (who shall remain nameless) would wander off while on an outing and I was constantly hunting for said Kid.
Actually, "keep moving" is pretty good advice under many circumstances. Physical activity is good for the body and the mind. I'm told that runners have an endorphin rush and get a feeling of euphoria when they "hit the wall." (I wouldn't know about that, ever. I'm not an extremist.) I do know that cleaning out a closet or digging in the garden can ease a broken heart. Anxiety is lessened when the body is busy. Kneading bread dough leaches away anger. It takes surprisingly little time for unused muscles to atrophy and joints to stiffen; ask anyone who has worn a cast or has arthritis.
These thoughts came to me yesterday after I had tended the goats and chickens. I won't say I didn't let out a couple of moans now and then while hauling buckets, but it wasn't until I was in the house and firmly ensconced in the recliner that the rib came back to the forefront. Working with the animals and doing what needed to be done took attention away from myself. I think inactivity is one of the reasons so many older persons dwell on their health or lack thereof. When the body is still, the mind goes searching and can easily settle on an ache, pain, or unhappiness until that becomes the focus of life. Activity directors in convalescent hospitals (I'm sure someone has renamed these holding centers with something more aesthetic now) are challenged to provide exercise even to those in wheelchairs; it really does help. There are lessened opportunities or incentives for many of the elderly to stay active, and that is such a shame. As for myself, I gave my mind a little trip with a book and some sunshine on the deck, and then came back in and baked some cookies. I needed to keep moving.