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.
I once was nocturnal. And frankly, I loved it… Nothing is better than the wee hours of the night – humans are sleeping, magic is unfolding. . . Ahhh. My unconventional, witchy self always leaned a bit renegade…so the space and time to manage mischief was perfection.
But…after college, those days came quickly to a halt – thank you, grown-up-hood.
I need my sleep. I need LOTS of it. And I’m so restless that if I DON’T get to bed early, I’m going to be a zombie. Likely a belligerent or over-trained one, which is woe-to-the-planent territory.
It isn’t because I’m “old” either – I joke about that but age really IS just a number. I feel healthy and happy…but sleep is a big part of that. Not partying, drinking, and smoking is another. (I can add in “not being in crowds engaging is such activities,” also, as that would very much result in my NOT feeling healthy. Or happy!)
So this gave me a solid laugh…
Empaths, INFJ types, you will probably laugh silly. Moms and dads might also, or really any regular working stiff. 😉
Overtraining is a very real – and alarmingly common – habit that can cause serious setbacks if you aren’t careful. It can happen to someone new to fitness or sports simply because they aren’t as well versed with what their body can handle yet – totally understandable. Trainers working with new clients need to be sure the work loads are gradually increased, allowing the client to work up to higher volume / frequency. Without some guidance, a newbie may do a little too much too soon, landing them in a frustrated, overly exhausted, and often discouraged state.
But the truth of it is, it can happen to ALL of us. As a trained athlete I can safely say that we (those of us used to physically demanding routines) still fall victim to overtraining as much as the next person. Possibly even MORE!
Despite that we *should* know better, we tend to push to the point of failure a far too frequent basis sometimes. Sure, we know we need rest days. We also know a week off can sometimes be exactly what our body needs…much to the chagrin of the mind. But we don’t always apply that sound advice to ourselves.
I do a lot of Martial Arts classes during the week – it used to only be three or four. Now I’m doing four in one Art (Ninjutsu) AND four in another (Gracie Jiu-Jitsu) every week. I haven’t totally tapered off with my three-times-a-week cardio and several days of weightlifting, mind you…so it’s catching up.
The last two weeks have been EXHAUSTING. On top of it, I turned 38. For me “age is a number”…generally speaking. It always HAS been “just a number.” This morning, though, after a few weeks of feeling off my game, and physically sore and exhausted? 38 felt ancient…and distressing!
Up front, it’s an overwhelming sensation of feeling like I’m slowing down – like my body can’t keep up, and that my mind doesn’t even want to. For a person who can usually push through and stay positive, that’s a tough mental place to find myself in – no motivation AND physical exhaustion. Ugh.
When I take a step back it’s so much easier to weed things out. Is it really allergies? I mean, there’s pollen in the air more so now but. . .body soreness? Nice excuse. It’s NOT allergies.
Could it be a virus? Sure, they’re going around…I may have caught a little something. But WHY? That’s the question.
I don’t get sick often, or even much at all. . .the only conditions under which I do are – BINGO! – when I’m physically sub-par. Too much at one time will absolutely wear you thin, not only causing fatigue, soreness and depressed emotions, but also a weakened immune system. Running yourself into the ground is like posting a sign “viruses and colds, welcome.”
The topic is an easy one to get into…and to write at length about. I appreciate that there are so many articles out there, because sometimes we all need a little bit of a reminder to reevaluate. Your exhaustion and “not feeling like it” certainly might be chalked up to “one of those days.” But it’s important to know when it’s something MORE than that. Learn the difference, and check back if you feel like you might be crossing the line.
For more of my own Fitness Photos and Posts…
Life isn’t always easy – it just goes without saying that there will be ups and downs, diagonals and roundabouts… And, yes, maybe even some tornado-twirls thrown in for good measure.
But. . .we always have a choice in how we manage events, and how we handle ourselves and our emotions. I DEFINITELY could do a better job of being “in the moment” myself – it’s something I work on every day, particularly as my Empathetic self feels so profoundly.
While it is something I try to stay ever mindful of, though, reminders never hurt. This morning I woke up feeling down – I felt “old,” and that’s a feeling I’ve not yet experienced. And yet here I am…happy, healthy, ALIVE. . .and so incredibly blessed. . .that “feeling down” is the part that doesn’t fit!
We ARE allowed to feel – so I’m not angry with myself for being human. I know it’s more than okay – and frankly most healthy – to acknowledge and be aware of the feelings. But I also don’t want them to ruin my day and keep me from the activities I need to be doing!
So…I reread this wonderful quotation, took a deep breath, and said my thanks with a smile. I may not always be able to choose the tune – or the onset of a feeling – but I can choose how I dance to it.
And…how about this…I CAN dance in the first place, and that’s one more blessing to add to the heap! 😉