I have been a pretty active person in all of my life. As a kid, we were always to go play outside, then, I played on almost every team at school. As I got older, I still played on a lot of school teams but my extra time was spent on just a few sports instead of all I could make time for. As an adult, well, it hasn’t mattered what I wanted to do at times, with kids, a dog, house, husband, my activity took a back seat.
Now that I am almost an empty nester, my time is mine. I get to do what I want with my time, sort of. I choose to spend time in my gym, my garden and hiking, and other outdoor activities. But that is me, I have friends that truly believe that;
they are not wired for exercise.
I am calling them out right now. That is a lie we have learned to tell ourselves and others and therefore completely believe.
It is not true.
I totally agree that we are not all wired to love playing rugby. Having three kids, we encouraged them to be active. Two loved most sports, the third loved to dance. One day she came to us, the third child, and pleaded with us not to make her play rugby. Both her brother and sister did, so she assumed that she should. I would never have encouraged her to play rugby unless she wanted to, she is way more suited to what she loved, dancing.
Three kids, same house, same upbringing, totally different levels of activity. But active nonetheless. Take a step back and think about when your babies were babies. Currently, we have two grandkids. They are the most amazing people on the planet. The youngest is nine months old right now. So, think with me a moment at that age. When you hold him, be prepared. He never stops moving. He wiggles and squirms. He is constantly watching everything he can all at the same time. He wants up, he wants down. Leave him alone, don’t leave him alone. His arms are flying everywhere. His legs are kicking endlessly. But the only time he is still is when he is sleeping.
We were all the same once upon a time. Somewhere along the line, we stopped moving. We thought that sitting still was the norm and being active was ‘work’. Not sure when that happens but it needs to stop. Although all schools encourage gym class, it is so forced and structured that even active kids are told what to do and how to move their bodies. In between gym times, we are told to sit still, stop moving, stop fidgeting learn to conform.
Eventually, schools turn the movement into competitive events and we discourage kids that don’t move the same way as others, to feel less coordinated and we begin to live the lie that ‘sport is not for us’. It’s about that time that square dancing comes to gym class, hhmmm.
Our bodies are made to move.
- Our bodies are made to work better when we move.
- Our systems flush out waste better when we move.
- Our minds work better when our bodies move.
- Our mood improves when we are not made to sit in a box on a chair for hours at a time.
- Our skin glows when we sweat.
- Our endorphins are pumping when we raise our heart rate.
If you look at studies regarding people with Alzheimer's and physical activity, they have been able to prove that physical activity both helps prevent the disease and helps stop its progression.
But the last thing we should do is wait until a doctor prescribes activity for us. If we wait to be told what to do and when to do it, we might as well be back in school. We might as well be forced to conform to somebody else once again making us play flag football, climb a rope, endless sit-ups and push-ups with everyone else counting for us.
It’s time to find something that you like to do. Start looking into what you have done in the past that made you feel good. Was it paddleboard, badminton, riding a bike, simply walking. Think back, what physical activity have you enjoyed? If you really can’t find that thing, start a new search. Find a dance class, look for a pickleball team, join a hiking group, train for a run, do a little boxing, lift some things. You simply don't know what you like to do until you do it.
Movement is the key to staying younger, so do all you can to make that happen.
“My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty. She's ninety-seven now, and we don't know where the heck she is.”
― Ellen DeGeneres