If I could go back in time, like Ebenezer Scrooge does in “A Christmas Carol”, this is what I would tell my younger self about “exercising”.
1. You have but one body. Take care of it so it can take care of you. As you get older, you’ll find some things a lot more difficult to do, everyday stuff, and it’s because you chose to sit on your butt for 30 years.
2. There are few things that can replace the feeling of the sun on your face, the sound of the wind, and the crisp crackle of a groomed ski run. Training keeps that a possibility as you get older. Otherwise, you can kiss it goodbye or, in your case, tear yourself up trying with a body that can’t keep up.
3. If you value independence, value strength. Move with ease up and down from the floor, lift heavy bags effortlessly, place your dogs in the back of your car without wondering if you’ll tear something in your back. Training makes these types of things a reality for a long, long time.
4. Say NO. Put your training session on your calendar and value that commitment. Make yourself as important as anyone else. Learn to say no to people who want you to do this or that at the last minute. They’ll survive.
5. Rest more often. Pushing yourself to achieve something -work, play, finances, whatever – is great but not at the expense of your health and ultimately your independence.
6. Think more like an athlete and less like you’re inoculated against getting fat, weak, stiff, and frail. Yeah, I know, you don’t have weight rooms, workout facilities but you still train for basketball and track & field. You have a goal and you pursue it. Hang on to that mindset and use it to guide you in your later years. You’re going to gain at least 1 lb per year if you don’t. And in a flash, you’re 30 lbs overweight, move like the Tin Man, and wonder what the hell happened.
7. Think about others. Okay, you’re going to have to trust me on this one. Someday, you’ll get married and about the last thing you want to have happen is for your wife to have to do a bunch of stuff for you because you’re injured or too weak or flll-in-the-blank. Training will help you lighten the load on the people around you, so pay attention.
8. Exercise is a waste of time. See, I have the advantage here because I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that if you can just do something, burn some calories, throw around some weights, do exercise, you can check it off your list. Stop thinking like that. It’s your LIFE. Start thinking about what kind of LIFE you want when you’re 40, 50, 60 years old. Make it part of you; how you live.
9. Get outside. You live in your head. You can live in your head all day and never leave the house and you know what happens when you do that? You THINK you’re more fit and able than you really are. Get outside – hike, run, cycle, play golf, shoot some hoops, play with your dogs – these things let you know what you can and can’t do. Like when you’re playing with your dog and he fakes you out and you end up doing a face plant because you have the agility of a sloth. Train my friend, train.
10. You’ll hurt less. You don’t know this right now but someday you’ll have an unwanted “friend” who will be with you night after night waking you from much needed sleep. Get on a path of healthy movement and stay with it and the chances of pain being a lifetime partner will drop exponentially.