“The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.”
Hello to my fabulous Boomer and Senior audience. These past months have been tough on all of us—struggling without family during the Holidays, adjusting to winter weather and all its vagaries, wondering about the availability of the new COVID vaccine, letting our diet get the worst of us, working through the continued shut down of our favorite restaurants with take-out and food delivery being the new norm, and the list goes on and on. And it doesn’t appear it’s going to ease up in the near future. YIKES!!!
All of this weighs heavily on our ability to navigate through these terribly difficult days and weeks of craziness. But we can’t let it own us, so it’s up to us, each and every one of us, to take control of our physical health and mental fitness during this time, both are so vitally important.
I can assure you, when I speak about health and mental fitness, one feeds on another. Let me explain. I have found that when I muster the energy to commit to an exercise program, regardless of the extent, it feeds not only my physical attributes but also my mental well-being. And when my mental well-being is happy, it’s so much easier to get up every day and hit the exercise routine. Yes, indeed, there is definitely a common relationship between the two.
I can’t begin to tell you how much better I feel hopping on my bike and putting the pedal to the metal, letting the wind blow through my ‘helmet-hair’ (Ha) and riding to clear my mind. I had a very long month of December and additionally tough beginning of January. Both of my parents contracted COVID-19 in their skilled nursing facility in early December, and for the entire month of December we had to monitor their progress through quarantine, then isolation, then being released back into their normal room. In early January, the effects of the virus were simply too much for my father and he passed away the first week due to COVID complications. Now I monitor my mother’s wellness on a daily basis with a myriad of phone calls to ensure she is being looked after in the best manner possible. All of that on our plate has caused me to be emotionally spent, and has created a serious dent in my routine, especially the exercise routine.
When we were younger, it was possible to get by on weeks of being inactive. Our metabolism was off the charts and we could eat and drink anything and still feel great and not gain a pound. We could fit into our favorite jeans for a hot night out—remember those days. Well folks, not today. I’m 69 and my BoomerGuy is 74 and it seems we can gain weight just by watching a pizza commercial on TV. And if that isn’t bad enough, there’s a new term in town called “weight creep.” It starts in our 50’s and eventually begins to show its effects with this horrible thing called a muffin top, spare tire, and tummy bulge around our mid-section.
Fighting all of this through exercise is an effective and powerful weapon. Do we feel like exercising on a regular or even semi-regular basis—probably not. And that is the fundamental reason why we allow it to slip from one month to the next. There isn’t even a debate anywhere that says we shouldn’t do this. Honestly, how hard is it to put on those tennis shoes and head out the door or jump on your exercise bike or treadmill. I was once a runner and logged about 5 miles a day 4-5 times a week. I felt great and experienced what they call “runner’s high.” Having lived all over, I used to run in places like Truckee, California where the elevation about killed me, the Pacific Northwest where the rain was a constant source of irritation, and in the Midwest where the humidity and frigid cold was always a damper. Having done it, I never make an excuse for the weather.
Here we are, at the precipice of do we or don’t we. I think the best way to help you decide is to find the right motivation, which is the key to our individual success. I thought long and hard about what to put down here and have come up with eight helpful ideas on what you might think about in order to find that motivation.
“What pulls you? Some days you might need a push, but in all cases, you’re motivated by what you must do to get moving. Yet, answering the call of what draws you to it is the key to finding your passion and living your best life. That kind of ‘pull’ motivation is where your soul is quietly telling you to go forward.”
PERSONAL PRIDE. If you look in the mirror and are satisfied with who you’re looking at, then go no further. But for the vast majority of us, looking in the mirror and seeing who’s looking back at us is reason enough to get off the couch and do something about it. Personally, I’m tired of seeing the droop and the spread and just can’t allow them to continue.
“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
THE COBWEBS. Clear the mind of minutiae, get rid of the negative thinking or those things that cloud your ability to go forward. Put some effort into at least a simple program to move your bones.
STRESS. Needless to say, I’ve had my share over the past month and a half. No doubt you are experiencing some level of stress just by trying to navigate our new normal. You most likely will not eliminate it completely, but I can assure you, you will definitely take a chunk out it with an exercise routine that helps you focus on what you’re doing.
DIET. A major player in our ability to feel good. Eat less and favor more non-fat foods is the key. You don’t have to necessarily eliminate everything but watch the sweets and alcohol—those false calories just aren’t worth it. In addition, there are numerous diet programs available on the market—find one and stick with it. You’ll be able to measure the dividends. Just for informational purposes, I follow the Gendry diet called “Plant Paradox.” It’s based on science, not fad.
EXERCISE PROGRAMS. They are in abundance from the simple to the more intense. Start off by taking yourself outside and enjoying the fresh air with a brisk walk, jog or bike ride. You can at your option, move to light weights and/or Pilates’ rings and bands to enhance muscle tone, with an aggressive leap to a tread mill, exercise bike, or even a visit to your favorite gym (if it’s open for business) for more cardio. Of course, there’s always the low -impact practices of yoga and my favorite, tai chi. After a brief period, check out the reflection in the mirror. Like what you see—then step up the pace. A combination of cardio exercises and weight training is the one-two punch that will keep your body in shape and your mind sharp and focused.
FEEL ALIVE. I don’t run much anymore, but I do ride my bike. Flat or hilly terrain, it doesn’t matter. The only difference is the speed. I don warm weather gear when it’s cold outside, and head out in a t-shirt when it’s warm. As I said previously, don’t let the weather be an excuse. When you’re done with that or whatever routine you might wish to follow, check out your “feel alive” meter and I bet it’s on high.
MENTAL HEALTH. The brain is a curious thing. It flourishes with healthy input such as faster blood flow and nutrient rich fluids. Begin to experience the improvement in memory, quick wit, your ability to comprehend, read and write better, etc. Pass it on to your family and friends, they will definitely notice the difference.
“JUST DO IT.” As Nike is famous for saying. Cher used to say, if exercise came in a bottle we would all be drinking it. It’s up to you how you move forward. As for me, there is no alternative. I love being alive and feeling all the benefits of my simple exercise pleasures. They’re all measurable.
“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.”
Thank you to my loyal following. If ever you feel like making a contribution to any of my blogs, don’t hesitate to send me an email along with thoughts of your special inspiration.