Use it or Lose it!

I like to think of myself as still young and active despite the age that appears on my birthday cards each year. I think of age as more of a mindset. We all know people our age who seem so much older than us! We also know folks who seem to never age. (That’s the group I want to join!) 

I do believe in many ways you are only as old as you feel. Joseph Pilates said, “If your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30, you are old. IF it is completely flexible at 60, you are young.”

There is quite a bit of truth to that. If we feel good and move well, we are much more apt to be active and exercise and maintain a healthy body and weight. When we feel stiff or achey, we find ourselves sitting more and saying no more to activities.

I’m pretty active. I run, hike, bike occasionally, practice Pilates and more. Recently however, two movements/activities I used to be able to do, I found I could not do or do well! My mind knew how but my body said no. The first movement – a back bend. I used to do these and for some reason stopped. In a recent effort to work on extension more I was following along to an online Pilates video that included a back bend. I expected to pop right up! Nope. If you don’t work on it – you lose it. Now over the last few weeks I have been working on getting this movement back .. and I am getting there. Once again I can do a backbend but I’m not quite back to as strong and graceful as I once was. I’ll keep working on it!

The second activity – running a mile on the track at a pace similar to what I used to run. I didn’t expect to run the same times I did in college, but I did think I’d be close to the times I ran in mile races 7 or so years ago. Ha! Not even close! To be honest, I have not done ‘speedwork’ on the track in at least 10 years. Guess what … that is not a good formula for keeping up your speed! So I recorded my humbled mile and have been working on getting the seconds off. So far I’ve taken about 30 seconds off and have some more room to go. Running on the track – something I did for years – feels foreign right now. My legs are having to relearn that quick turnover and that they can do it. It’s a movement I’d let go but I can also get back. I have confidence with work I will see my mile times back where I’d like them!

Why do I share this with you? Because many of us have a sedentary period when our lives get crazy or overwhelming or we just lack motivation. We expect to pick up where we left off. It’s discouraging when you see how much ground you’ve lost. BUT it is possible to regain ground. Maybe if we know the setback is coming we won’t beat ourself up so much? Maybe we’ll be a little bit prepared and OK with where our new starting point is and how far we need to go? That’s what I hope for you!

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