Have you ever been in the mindset during exercise or in the middle of a really hard workout to wonder why you keep working so hard? I have to admit that sometimes that little thought crosses my mind. I sometimes think about getting to a bit of a riper older age and not worrying about getting to the gym and fitting in a workout. Can’t I just eat pound cake for breakfast, sip on lemonade and put my feet up? I was talking with a friend and fellow fitness instructor and she said she thought the same thing. Whew! I was happy to hear it was just not me losing my edge!
Well, let me tell you why we have to keep on keeping on and continue to move and exercise as we age. I have some perfect examples that inspire me and awe me and make me to strive to keep on . . .
1. The Fit 59 Year Old Doing the Sit to Stand Test
This morning I did not have a scheduled class to teach, so went to my local YMCA for my own workout. It’s always a good time to get in some interval training cardio and work on some of the things I need – my own imbalances, continual shoulder rehab strengthening, lots of core work and some yoga and flexibility work. It sounds like a lot but I can really get in and out in 45-60 minutes if I don’t stop to chat! While on the mat going through some strength and yoga work I noticed an older woman beside me. She began to do a series of Sit to Stand moves, again and again, in perfect form and balance. After watching her in awe for several reps I had to pull out my ear buds and ask her if she knew she was going to live to be 100. I told her I was familiar with the Sit to Stand test and she did it perfectly!
If you are wondering what I’m talking about, it looks like this:
There was buzz in the health and fitness world recently about using this test to determine how long you would live. The determination is based on how well you can get up and down unassisted. Using one hand or two hands or a knee, etc, determines longevity, so the test says. Check out Discover Magazine’s article.
After I mentioned that she would live to be 100, my newest inspiration gave me a big grin and told me she was planning on 110! She had a huge twinkle in her eye, telling me she was 59 years old. I had to compliment her infectious attitude and told her how glad I was to meet her. I put my ear buds back in and, out of the corner of my eye, watched this 59 year old continue through a series of perfectly performed lunges, squats, up and downs, planks and push ups.
I’m thinking I want to be right where she is, able to do just what she is doing, when I am 59 years old. Even more inspiring, is her attitude. I’ve always thought that attitude is half the battle and if I can be half as energetic as this new friend, then she completely inspires me to keep up the work.
2. My Blue Jean Wearing Yogi Friend
The other inspiration I look to can also be found at my YMCA. I met this man a few years ago after seeing him daily doing his workout and amazing yoga poses – while wearing his blue jeans. Honestly! He happened to be a friend of The Husband’s stepfather, so we often chatted about him and their goings on. Every single time I am at the Y in the mornings I see this older gentleman. I have no idea how old he is, but I know he is no spring chicken. He always has a smile for me and for all his “workout buddies”. There is definitely a community of these older folks who meet and mingle as they get in their morning exercise. I love watching them and watching how their movement, energy and accountability keeps them young. My friend continues to inspire me to keep up with my yoga practice. If this gray haired gentleman can go from down dog, to crow pose to splits in his blue jeans, surely I can keep showing up!
3. The Graceful Pilates Participant. . . Who Happens to be 78
My last example of inspiration came to me following a mat Pilates class a couple of weeks ago. I was subbing for another instructor so I always like it when participants come up to me afterwards. I like to hear the good, bad and ugly, what they liked and didn’t like from my class. On this day, following the class, a lovely, petite older woman came up to me. She shook my hand telling me how much she enjoyed my class. Of course, this just warmed my heart. She smiled and told me that she was so happy to come, even though, at times she couldn’t do all the moves. I hadn’t noticed that she missed a beat and told her so. She introduced herself and told me she was 78 years old. Whhaaatttt? How could that be? She moved so agiley and gracefully, stood perfectly straight and poised. I immediately told her how inspired I was from her. I told her I wanted to be just like her when I was 78!
These lovely people have come across my path to inspire me, keep me inspired and show me exactly why I keep doing what I do.
I keep exercising, working out and trying to eat well for a few reasons. At this point in my life, it’s not all about vanity and to look a certain way. Let’s be honest here, I have reached a certain age. In fact, the Third Son cut me to the core the other day, telling me I was middle aged. Unfortunately, doing the simple math shows that he was correct. So, while I like to be able to fit in my clothes and, hopefully, stay a certain size, it is about more than just how I look. It’s more about staying healthy, strong, fit and well. It’s to be able to live and do what I want to do as I continue to age. I want to be like these older folks who can still keep up with those of us who are a little younger. And, when the time comes, I need to be able to keep up with those little people who will be lots younger if I am ever blessed to be a grandmother.
When I begin to get those thoughts about growing old and eating pound cake, sitting in a rocking chair and putting together puzzles, I have my new friends to think of and inspire me to keep up with the exercise, strengthening and flexibility. If you begin to get those sort of “give it up” or “why keep it up” sorts of thoughts, I’ll bet you have your own examples of inspiration right under your nose.
I’d love to hear about them!
What keeps you keeping on? What or whom inspires you? How do you see yourself as you age? What do you hope to be doing?
ENJOY YOUR DAY!