Use It Or Lose It – No Really!

Jannine Myers

My father has been dealing lately with knee and lower back pain, not surprising given how active he is. But his pain – the result of cumulative wear and tear – has reached a certain threshold that has forced him to either modify or put some of his usual weekly activities on hold.

My mother on the other hand, moves about with relative ease – or to better clarify, with minimal pain. Unlike my father, she’s more of an indoor person; she’d much rather stay in and read a book or stroll down to one of the social gatherings on-site at their semi-retirement village. Besides flirting over the years with a few sporting endeavors (netball in her youth, and golf and lawn bowling later on), she has never really put her body under too much stress or tension.

As I think about their situation, and the all-too-familiar phrase “Use It Or Lose It,” I have to admit that I envy my mother for being pain-free. But isn’t it ironic that she – the one who has hardly exercised, and with a far less impressive physical profile – is also the one who does not struggle with chronic pain!

Still, when weighing up the pros and cons, I think one has to consider personal lifestyle preferences, and what will ultimately provide fulfillment. How much will it matter to stay fit and active for as long as possible, versus settling for a mostly indoor and sedentary lifestyle?

Also important, is contemplating who might (or might not be) in your life during your retirement years. As much as my mother jokingly boasts about her pain-free body, she would not be able to deny that her quality of life is as great as it is because she has a husband who has worked hard to maintain a certain level of vitality.

Essential day-to-day tasks, for example – cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping – are no longer manageable for her. And forget about the road trips she still enjoys, or social outings beyond the village, since venturing out would not be possible without my father.

So yes, my mother is incredibly fortunate to have reaped the rewards of a gently-used body, but she is also incredibly fortunate to have someone do for her what her body can no longer do.

 

Changes Are A Comin’

Jannine Myers

WOOT (Women Out On Trails), originated in Okinawa, Japan, and is arguably one of the largest women’s trail running groups worldwide. Prior to it’s beginnings, myself and Anna Boom (group Founder), met most weekends with three of our guy friends, and ran (or more like, played) on various stretches of challenging and diverse-terrain trails. Beyond the weekends, we often ran and exercised alone, and it was during those solo runs that Anna began to observe other women out on the pavement, also running alone.

When Anna first proposed the idea of starting a women’s trail running group, I knew it was about more than just women running trails together; it was also about creating community, friendships, and support. For Anna and I, who already had some affiliation with Japan and largely understood the culture and language, we were well adapted and comfortable in our environment. But we knew that wasn’t the case for others.

Made up at the time of mostly American military spouses, WOOT was a haven in a foreign place; it drew women out from what were possibly lonely and stressful living conditions (military spouses are often uprooted and planted far from the comforts of home, friends, and family, and then left to parent alone while their active duty husbands are deployed). Providing a weekly outlet where they might occasionally arrive with heavier-than-usual burdens, and be able to leave without them – or at least with lighter loads and happier hearts – was what we hoped to deliver.

To further support that vision, Anna and I felt that an online presence would help build our community. We wanted to publish information about a whole host of things, including running events and races, road and trail running tips, nutrition guidance, and off-the-cuff female issues that would invariably arise as members gathered each week to run and “share life” together. Hence, the creation of this blog, but known back then as GoTheExtraMileWIthWoot, then later as RunWithWoot, and finally as JannineMyers after I left the group in January 2017.

Almost two years on (and since returning to New Zealand), life has changed quite significantly. I’m divorced for one, and although my single-parenting role is not so different from my military spouse days, I’m now hustling a full-time job in a city that currently rates as one of the highest cost-of-living locations in the world. These, and other factors, unfortunately thwarted earlier efforts to start a partnered business (UCAN Trail Running & Retreats) with Scenic Sports Event Director, Kerry Uren.

I have a great job however, and with no pressure to commit to external work projects, I’m able to devote any spare time to the things I remain passionate about. With that said, and with a new year quickly approaching, I have a new vision for this blog.

JannineMyers.com will be moving in a direction that serves to promote more of a holistic approach to health and well-being. With a continued focus on fitness and nutrition, there will be a new underlying notion that these two disciplines combined, provide the most simple yet effective antidote against a woman’s natural inclination to love and nurture everyone but herself.

Keep watching for further updates……