Aging Well in the Gorge ~ October 18th, 2023

Recently, I attended a Portland Thorns soccer game at Providence Park, and as usual, I purchased cheap seats near the last row in the top deck. As my wife and I climbed the steps to row S, to my horror, the handrail, my life support for climbing any steps, ended at row L!

It wasn’t too difficult climbing up because if needed, I could crawl up the steps like an infant in diapers. But trying to go down the steps among a crowd of soccer fans rushing for food during half-time was a different story.

Being unsure of my balance and fearing I would trip, I awkwardly climbed down the steps grasping my wife’s shoulder, ignoring my bruised male ego, because as our parents always told us, “It’s better to be safe than sorry.”

However, that experience reminded me of the importance of balance and how I need to start doing balance exercises to train my brain so I can stay vertical.

If you decide to start, here are three of the many balance exercises recommended by WebMD. And as with any exercise, don’t try to do too much at once, and if you experience any pain, talk with your doctor before continuing.

Single Leg Balance – repeat three times.

Step 1: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.

Step 2: Extend your arms out to the sides and slowly lift your right knee off the floor.

Step 3: Straighten your leg out in front of you, hold that position for 30 seconds, and relax.

Tree Pose – repeat three times.

Step 1: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding one hand to your chest and the other on a chair. You can also rest both hands on your chest if you feel comfortable doing so.

Step 2: Now raise your right leg straight up, turning your foot inward as you do. Gently rest the sole of your right foot against the side of your left thigh.

Step 3: Hold this position for at least 30 seconds, or longer if you can.

Tightrope Walk – once a day.

Step 1: Pick a destination to walk toward.

Step 2: Like walking a tightrope, extend your arms out to the sides and start walking slowly, being careful to keep your feet on the line at all times.

Step 3: Walk from heel to toe, counting at least five seconds before each step.

There are also other options: Tai Chi, chair yoga, and the very popular Strong People classes. But you can also improvise. Try balancing on one leg while in line to pick up your prescriptions or while waiting for the restroom at a Thorns game (ignore the stares), or while brushing your teeth at home – although your teeth may never get clean!

Starting a routine of balance exercises can improve your well-being. Studies have found that older adults who began a regular balance exercise program improved their ability to move unassisted, reduce falls – and avoid humiliating situations at Providence Park.

Brain Tease: I found today’s brain teaser while doing a New York Times crossword puzzle. (I use the computer version with autocorrect, so don’t get the idea I’m smart!). “What four-letter word has a bow that can never be tied?”

In the movie Psycho, the name of the hotel where Jane Leigh’s character is gruesomely murdered in the terrifying shower scene is Bates Motel. I received correct answers from Ron Nelson, Bruce Johnson, who still gets chills listening to the music, Rebecca Abrams, Doug Nelson, Lana Tepfer who last week I forgot again!, Donna Mollett, Kim Birge, Dave Lutgens, Kathy Bullack, Julie Carter, Rhonda Spies, and this week’s winner of a free raffle ticket, Elaine Kirby.

When learning to play the piano, there was one tune every beginning piano student learned to play. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the common name for this easy-to-remember melody that even non-piano players could play? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788, or mail it with the

famous keyboard-dance scene from the movie Big (1988).

Well, it has been another week, looking for the best in people even when they’re showing their worst. Until we meet again, it’s the little things that make life worth living.

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” Albert Einstein

Nutritious home-delivered and in-person meals are available at noon Monday through Friday unless otherwise noted.

Seniors of Mosier Valley (541-980-1157) – Mondays and Wednesdays; Mt. Hood Townhall (541-308-5997) – Tuesdays; Hood River Valley Adult Center (541-386-2060); Sherman County Senior and Community Center (541-565-3191); The Dalles Meals-on-Wheels (541-298-8333).

For meal sites in Washington, call Klickitat County Senior Services: Goldendale office (509-773-3757) or the White Salmon office (509-493-3068), and in Skamania County call Senior Services (509-427-3990).

Answer: Ship

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