As I have accumulated the years in my life, I try to always find a way to retain a perspective on the positive and negative happenings and issues that have created the ME that I know as I follow the playbook for the healthy aging game.
Early in life, it seems there are so few considerations about consequences, limitations and repercussions. The objective was to just go for it, have fun and never consider the potential repercussions.
Over the years, we learn, gradually, and sometimes painfully, that just maybe some preparation, planning, strategy and bigger picture considerations may actually have their place. With that in mind, it is important to know, we will need to consider alternatives and to establish reasonable objectives now that we are where we are with the impact of our past.
Never Stop Having Fun
Never stop having fun and never overplay the “what if” game, as it becomes a crutch, an excuse, and ultimately a fail. I am guilty of all these things, and of the “never consider the potential” scenario. The result was a hiatus of healthy habits, training, and finding excuses (a closet full of crutches) because of an injury that I allowed to linger for years before I found a solution.
Excuses only appease the weak, and limit the potential of learning new ways and habits that can fill the void of what you lost due to the injury or simply aging after an athletic past
I was a runner for years and loved the freedom and simplicity of putting on my running shoes, a pair of shorts and a T-shirt going out for a run of 3-6 miles as a way to stay fit mentally and physically. Over the years, it became a need to run 10K’s and collect the T-shirts. Then I decided to run a few half-marathons and ultimately a marathon. As it turns out, my head was best-suited for the shorter runs, and apparently for my back as well.
Recognize & Respect Limitations
During my earlier years, I played football, baseball, fast-pitch and slow-pitch softball, wrestled and did martial arts for 6 years. Yes, it all had a cumulative, long-term affect that caused me to make some significant adjustments. The wear and tear was evident, and so was the frustration of the limitations that were now to be recognized.
At first I would try to run, only to get more frustrated because the pain and the lingering effects would just make things worse, which led to pretty much no exercise for way too long.
One day, I decided to get back to the gym. I discovered that a workout that strengthened my core and helped me burn fat was a way better alternative. My program only caused soreness, and not pain (clever right?) and included pulleys, dumbbells, Bosu ball pushups/sit-ups and a Smith machine. I became motivated once again to work out 4-5 days a week.
I did this type of workout for many years, and my cardio was limited to the Stairmaster and hiking. However, my workouts were fairly intense, moving between different routines and sets without breaks. It’s my own version of senior CrossFit. My body – and my brain – felt healthy again. And even though no one would have considered me worthy of a Men’s Health cover shot, I felt healthy and stronger for the effort.
Adapt When Necessary
Unfortunately, things come up. Changes were required, and I opted for a different type of core strength routine at home using the TRX system.
This really helped me discover a variety of core muscles and functional strengthening techniques. The TRS system is the perfect option for my goals to build core strength and remain fit without pain. I added a Spin bike and a step to add variety with some dumbbell workouts. All in all, it’s a very nice change of pace.
The most important point in all of this is when activity is limited, there is a deficit in life that we need to address. It is always easier to find excuses to avoid the effort, and I tend to suffer these deficits on occasion. Sadly, the excuses find their way in. And they always become more difficult to move out of the way once you accept them.
Sometimes you just simply take a break. But always try to remember what and how you feel when your activity level is strong. Because the positive feelings and improved attitude are inevitable once you kick yourself back in gear.