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Wipe Out: A Wake-Up Call to Act My Age? 

By Terri Edmund August 01, 2023 Health and Fitness

I confess to a moment of near euphoria as I sped past traffic crawling to the beach. My smile was so big, drivers smiled back as I zipped past on my lime green e-bike – head tucked in a sturdy helmet and my sweetheart following at a safe distance. It was a moment of pure joy. 

Notice I said moment. Less than a quarter mile from camp, I was down with a pain that seared from my ankle to my eye teeth, concentrated in my knee. It could have been worse. My skid landed me about an arm’s length from a slimy green drainage ditch. I could have been in pain and covered in green slime. 

I knew I’d survive, but I wasn’t okay. I didn’t realize just how not okay until I got back on the bike to limp it home. Though I made it most of the way, I fell again. Now, I was bleeding and attracting attention. Thank heavens for angels with cold cloths and electrolyte cocktails.

The Wake Up 

The first thing I realized was I could not get myself up off the ground. What if I had been riding alone on a country road? I also could not pull myself up into the truck with my arms. My strength absolutely sucks. How have I let myself become so weak? What if I was hanging on for my life by one hand, like in the movies? I’d be dead. 

When I turned 60 and started my 100th Year Project and writing for Sixty and Me, I learned strength is key to living a long independent life. Do you know why most people end up in nursing homes? They can’t get up and down off the toilet alone. I’ve learned it takes a lot of strength to get up and down off the toilet and to use a walker or crutches.

I’ve also learned to board the bus to the beach with my wheelchair. I know. I know. You hate waiting behind the bus when it throws out that handy dandy handicap ramp. Well, it’s a life saver for a lot of people. Thank you for your patience. 

When it becomes hard to get around, we subconsciously start moving less. I watched my mom’s life change as she digressed from golfing, then playing bridge most days to using a scooter to move even a few steps in assisted living. Here’s another thing I learned about my mom. She had crappy bones; so crappy she had metal plates in her hands so she could manage basic chores. It’s starting to look like my bones aren’t so great either. 

About Age Appropriateness 

I broke my first bone at a trail ride the day before I started high school, one arm in a cast and the other in a sling. Number two was my leg in a friendly collegiate touch football game, followed by a busted middle finger catching a line drive for my corporate softball team. I’m not at all athletic. I just like to have fun.

The only bone I ever broke not having fun was my foot, stomping after my ex during an argument. But did I mention we were leaving on a cruise the next day? A neighbor gal was sweet enough to push me around the S.S. Something in a borrowed ship’s wheelchair. 

Acting my age isn’t the problem; it’s my bones. I can’t ignore it anymore. Even though I pass my bone density exams, the final test is keeping me in one piece until I reach 100. At this rate, I’m nervous, not to mention disappointed my summer is off course.

What’s Next? 

I was complaining to my sister about my bum luck and how disappointed I am in my strength. 

“So, what are you going to do about it,” she said in a voice eerily like our mother’s, God rest her soul. “You could start with Silver Sneakers, you know.” 

She is so right, and here’s why: sarcopenia, the muscle loss that comes with aging and lack of activity. If we don’t use it, we lose five percent of our muscle strength per decade after age 35. I fear I’ve lost more than that. Good news is we can build it back.

I promised Sis I’ll cooperate with the physical therapy my new friends at Coastal Orthopedics recommend, and today I learned the local gym I used to pay for is included with my Medicare coverage. Duh. No brainer even for this blonde. 

Meanwhile summer is poking by, and my e-bike waits idly for me to gather the courage to get back on it. There’s a framed photo by my desk of my younger self on a pony. She’s about six, and her feet don’t reach the stirrups. She is certainly not smiling. Right beside the photo is a plaque with a John Wayne quote: “Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway.” 

I’m sure glad I’ve got a helmet. 

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Are you feeling your age? Have you had any eye-opening accidents? How have you dealt with the after-effects? What are you doing to get back on your feet and improve your wellbeing?

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I fell at my son’s house tripping over a rug! It’s painful to reach for anything and I have lost so much strength everywhere else my days are not easy. After reading this article I am going to start back at the gym


Did you do it, girlfriend? My first orientation is next week. Thought I can’t use my legs, I hope to start with my jiggly arms and go from there. I’m learning how important it is to be able to lift my own weight with my arms. Thanks for reading.

Karen Mirando

Broke my elbow 3 years ago climbing on a chair to hang a picture for Mom. Her new assisted living apartment. Wanted it to be perfect. I rude reminder my body can’t do what it used to! I’m 67. This talk inspires me to get the strength training I’ve been TALKING about getting!!!!


I’m cheering for you Karen! Thanks for reading.

Nina Traganas

After a few health issues my eyes were opened to the importance of exercise. Having trouble walking and pain in my knees and hips walking up stairs I was frustrated with myself. I don’t want to be a burden. My oncologist said to get an exercise bicycle and slowly start. I was amazed how my over all physical abilities improved.
Concerned about walking outside with broken sidewalks and roads doctor suggested to walk about the house and use the stairs if you have them. I might look like a gerbil in a wheel but it works! Keeping thigh muscles in shape is so important. Now I need to learn how to work on stretching with bands. I believe that age shouldn’t stop you from doing things. We each know what we can and can’t do we know our bodies and listen to them.


I have some friends to meet at a shopping center to walk. Good sidewalk and a place to stop for coffee. I hear you about cracked sidewalks. So glad you are exercising and I hope you are getting outside too. Thanks for reading.


I haven’t been on an e-bike yet, but am an avid cyclist, both road and mountain, but I notice that many of the riders look inexperienced and unaware of the speed in which they can go. I have almost been hit on the trail on s-curves by quite a few. I worry enough about my peddle power and crashing (I have been diagnosed with Osteoporosis) – some of these other cyclist give me extra angst. (Please note that I am NOT implying that the writer was being unsafe!)


Hi Erin. You are so right. E-bikes are SO fast. And the pedal assist feature can be downright dangerous. I was going too fast when I wiped out. I’d actually pulled off the pavement to make way for a skateboarder. If I’d held my path, I’d be in one piece. I’m not saying us old gals shouldn’t try e-bikes. But never without a helmet. Ever. Thanks for reading.


An author comment here: after talking with my sis in law, Dr. Sara, and admitting that I’m not religious about my calcium supplement, she told me if my body doesn’t find calcium in my blood, it will leach it from my bones. I am a two a day calcium supplement gal now.

Stephanie Bryant

What’s the mg per dose?


First check with your MD. each dose is personal. I heard that many people are low in vitamin D so I doubled my calcium dose and too 10,000IU of vitamin D. My next blood test showed I was dangerously high in D, so I take my calcium and D on a special weekly schedule. You must also do exercise using your muscles and bones as that’s the only way bones can take in calcium. Your regimen will be different than anyone else’s.

lois verhulst

Make sure you take vitamin D3, K2, and magnesium with your calcium to make sure it goes into your bones and not your arteries and veins.. you might look up Dr Livingood for more information on this 🙂

The Author

Terri Edmund is a retired innkeeper on Florida’s Suncoast, currently polishing her first novel about a feisty gal born during a hurricane in 1921. In the summer, she camps near the beach in the fishing village of Cortez. During season, she plays flute with the Manatee Community Concert Band. Learn more at

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