Aging Gracefully Looks Different For Everyone

I came across this image the other day and found it to be incredibly inspiring (I have head of these ladies before but I am always impressed.)

As we age, it takes longer to recover, and we may not be able to handle the intense training of our youth.  (I sure as shit can’t!!) Our bodies change beyond that too – we may not look the same as we did when we were younger. We may also not be as able to achieve those results without more work than it once took.

One of my biggest pet peeves, though, is when people say it’s impossible to stay fit, healthy and strong as we age – they dismiss it with an apathetic resignation that doesn’t resonate for some of us. . . Just because we are getting older doesn’t mean we can’t stay active, continue to be an athlete, or stay in good shape.

I am a strong proponent of setting ourselves up for success, and believe that unreasonable goals are a fast track to disappointment. I also believe we can achieve anything we put our hearts to provided we are smart about it. If we want to achieve a healthy body, we CAN…and without having to work until we are horribly run down – that is a more than realistic scenario.

Staying fit isn’t about the OUTSIDE appearance – for many of us it is a lifestyle because it permeates every aspect of our lives…not just the exterior. It means having more energy, and feeling proud of little accomplishments along the way.  It means being able to participate in activities we enjoy without feeling horrendous doing them, as well as having a clearer mind, and more self confidence. It may also mean staving off some unnecessary (and unkind) illnesses as well.

We don’t have to force ourselves into the box of looking the way we did at 20 – we’d not only be disheartened, but it also isn’t going to happen (unless, of course, you find a genie in a bottle.) I struggle with this sometimes too – it’s hard to see those changes and know there isn’t a ton we can do about them.  I don’t think it’s necessary to beat ourselves up for feeling that way either, ps – it isn’t about vanity all the time.  For those of us who have been active our whole lives, and fueled our bodies with healthy foods, we might identify with certain conditions (internal as much as external.)

In this way, it might feel all the more overwhelming to lose the control we might have *thought* (wrongly!) we had.  In order to stay on a track to success we need only allow that “fit” may look a little different in our older age, and continue working towards incorporating healthy choices in our lives. That includes eating healthy, whole foods, staying hydrated, staying active, and at least *trying* to get a solid amount of sleep.

Remember that deviations once in a while are okay – living life behind bars isn’t exactly the point! It’s the overall attitude, approach, and consistency that will get you where you want to go…and keep you in that vicinity.

I was definitely more “fit” when I was younger – who wasn’t!?  I’ve backed off a lot of activities, as well as the duration an intensity of the ones I’m doing. I need more time to recover, and there are days when rest is more in line with keeping me healthy than going to lift or to class. I may also have days where I need to eat more…or less…depending on what my body is telling me. But the short of it is…I’m thankful beyond words to be healthy, to have the ability to be active, and to better recognize my body’s cues. There is such a thing as aging gracefully…and staying badass while you’re at it (however you choose to define it.) Never let anyone tell you what is…or isn’t…possible – that, my dear, is up to YOU.

 

 

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Fear Magnifies

A solid point to remember…

When in fear. . . or consumed with stress . . .a few deep breaths can help to slow the body and the mind, and in turn reduce the subject of discomfort to the appropriate size.

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Fearless

Fear of failure is common amongst us all… It is a painfully debilitating attitude which not only keeps us from learning, but potentially also from something we may truly love.  

To impose such binding limitations without offering our minds, bodies, and souls the opportunity to experience and grow with life is an injustice beyond reason.  There is never a rational explanation, nor any excuse – we must, in the face of fear, step forward, lest our lives slip from our fingers while we watch.

 

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Be Brave

Fake it until you make it, as they say. . .

You may not be ready – literally, or in your own mind – to give that monstrous presentation to the CEO.

You may not be ready – literally or. . .in your own mind! – to compete in the next category up in your sport.

You may not be ready to take the next step, whatever it may be. . .

Or, frankly, to face yourself head on, once and for all. . .

But. . .

You can pretend to be brave enough to get by.  

Most things in life move fast – ever notice how you say “oh my god, is it APRIL already?! How did the year get here so quickly!?!” It isn’t going to slow down anytime soon.  If you worry about not being ready, opportunities will (not maybe) pass you by.  

It’s a lot like putting on a “happy face” even when you don’t feel like it – that physiologic action pulls a mind-over-matter type about-face by relaying to your brain that things aren’t so bad after all. The act of smiling in and of itself creates a chain reaction (thank you neural messaging!) that helps lift your mood – when things are severe, any uplift can make a huge difference.

Pretending to be brave may not have the same scientific explanation exactly, but it can bring about a wave of confidence you didn’t know you had.  If, in the moment, you are still struggling, remind yourself that being thrown to the wolves, and being UNprepared WILL teach you.  A LOT.  You will learn from the experience – what to not to do, what to do better, and most importantly, what you did that really worked.  Down the road you won’t have to put on the “I’m a shark” face (or…er…fin!) because you will have already proven to yourself you have the wherewithal to kick ass.