Forget the term exercise. Forget doing a certain number of reps. Forget cardio classes or lifting weights. Forget counting calories or walking on a treadmill. Forget exercise classes, Pilates, glute bridges, personal trainers or strength training. Forget dumbbells, resistance bands or balance training. Forget toning, sculpting or planks.
I want you to instead think about how you live your life now. At this moment in time when you are going about your day are you thinking about your body? Do you have to focus to do some physical things because they are becoming difficult? Are you beginning to plan your vacations or even everyday life actives around what you cannot do or find painful?
The things in life that bring you joy involve moving your body in some way. Even if you are not moving at the time, you have to get to point A to point B to do what you want to do. Yes, we can enjoy life in our homes or apartments…but I bet you find some joy traveling somewhere – regardless the distance.
I will even go deeper – before you step outside you will do this and more: you will get out of bed, clothe yourself, bathe yourself, pick up after yourself, open doors, pick things up, possibly drive, get in and out of the car…the list goes on. You have to move to prepare to do the things that bring you joy.
This is where moving better can improve your daily life. There is a vast sea of many ways to improve the way you move every day. The list is as thick as a phone book. Think about how athletes prepare for their events. When you watch or hear about Olympic athletes you hear and learn about their physical struggles and mental struggles that got them to the Olympics. Even if you are not much of a sports fan you probably have an idea of what cross training means.
Why should you approach how you move any differently?
You may say that you are not an athlete, and have no desire to compete in the Olympics. Sure, you may not have any interest. However, we all have an event that we should be training for. Life is a physical event. Life entails movement. Our ancestor’s way before cell phones, cars, buildings and the civilization we know now had to move literally to live. These hunter-gatherers had to run, jump, squat, sprint and more to stay alive. These days we can pick up the phone to get many things…but putting on your clothes, feeding yourself and going about your day still entails movement. Our bodies are meant to move, get stronger, and stay active. We have to have the conditioning to walk upstairs, to do multiple squats, to lift and carry things too.
Approach life as your event. Age is not an indicator or measurement of when one should stop moving. Approach your event with the desire to move better. Even if you have chronic pain, disease or disability you can still strive to move better within your restriction so your everyday life is more enjoyable and reduce the chance of injury or falls.
If you are reading this and don’t have to think about your body during your day…good. What are you doing to make sure that this continues? What are you doing to sustain this? Are you doing more than just standing and lifting weights or walking on the treadmill? Are you thinking that any form of movement that you “have to do” won’t be fun or enjoyable? Step away from that thought and change your mindset – you can practice moving better in a way that will challenge you but won’t be a process that you dread.
Wherever you find yourself in this range of movement – I challenge you to train for the life that you want to live. Seek out those that want to help you on your journey. As a Functional Aging Specialist, I am qualified to help those in their 50’s, 60’s, 70’s 80’s and up train for the life that they want to live.
Hold on to that joy and don’t give up on it.
Don’t change your life around your inability to continue doing things you enjoy doing. Move better every day so you can continue finding your joy and creating more moments to reminisce about.