Do you want to stay fit, but hate to exercise? Me, too!
The effects of living on this earth for more than half a century has begun to take its toll. But I refuse to believe that accepting “aging” and becoming less active is my only option.
However……no matter how hard I have tried to convince myself I like to exercise, I just don’t enjoy it.
BUT, now that I am in my ThirdThird (ages 60-90), I know that it is more important than ever to find some way to stay active.
So, here are 11 ways I convince myself to keep moving.
Maybe one or two will boost you along as well.
1. Know the big why that makes the effort worth it.
Keeping up with grandkids and being able to enjoy their activities requires climbing bleachers, carrying camp chairs and other movement. I like to travel and being able to get in and out of a vehicle and making it to an airport gate are easier if you are somewhat fit. Want to start a business? You’ll need energy and stamina.
2. Be satisfied with reality.
You don’t have to run a marathon or even a 5K to be fit. My husband loves to run. I have tried and tried to love running with him, but I just don’t. Walking, I can do. But walking in an organized event that times me and compares me I don’t think of as fun. So, reality is that taking a walk alone and listening to podcasts gets me moving, so that is what I do. And, I will do yoga classes or cds.
3. Find something, anything.
Don’t like to run? Swim. Don’t like to be in cold water? Walk. Don’t like to be outside? Find an indoor track. Want to be outdoors? Try a kayak. Just find some way to keep moving and active that you will do regularly.
4. Get convinced it’s important.
In my recent reading, I see common information saying 95% of disease is life-style related. Also, I read that the number one reason people enter assisted living is because they need help to get themselves off a toilet. Those two statistics motivate me to keep moving. And to eat intentionally to control my weight.
5. Find your motivation.
Mine has changed over the years. For a while, I was motivated to “look better than my sisters.” (Not the purest motivation, I admit, it worked for me for a long time.) I have a friend who has a personal rule of “no larger sizes.” One of my “mantras” for the BEST ThirdThird is, “It’s easier to keep it off, take it off.” [Read more HERE] The older I get, the stronger my motivation needs to be, so searching for “it” is key.
6. Be realistic
Something is better than nothing and you don’t have to prove anything to anyone. If a walk around the block is what you are able to do, then do it…every day. If you used to run marathons and now a 10K is what you are able to do, enjoy a 10K. If Pilates or weight lifting has become too strenuous, find an appropriate yoga or tai chi class or cd. Injuries or aches and pains will de-motivate, so start where you are able.
7. Dress for comfort.
If you are going to walk or run, get shoes that will give you the support. Invest in some non-binding, stretchy clothes that make moving comfortable. If you are joining a class, ask or observe the best clothes to wear. This is not a place to make fashion too important. Comfort is key.
8. Dress for fun.
But….exercise can also be a great excuse for some fun colors and styles. Try some yoga pants. Get some bright shoes. Find a t-shirt with a slogan you believe in. Move proudly in fun clothing.
9. Take a class.
It is not hard to find a class that will accommodate any level of fitness. In our small community of 150,000, there are multiple gyms and park districts that offer a myriad of classes. Water aerobics, yoga, weights, Pilates, spinning, walking, etc., etc. A class is a good way to try something new and it is a great social outlet.
10. Start somewhere.
Buy the shoes, or get the membership, or find a partner, or walk around the block after dinner. Do something to get yourself moving. Anything. That one step can make a big difference in the quality of your life going forward.
11. Reward yourself.
No chocolate until the walk is complete? An extra half-glass of wine if you’ve had a good bit of movement? A nice soak in the tub with bubbles and a good book? Be sure you pat yourself on the back for making the effort at staying as fit as possible.
People are motivated either by avoiding something they fear or by being rewarded by something they enjoy. What works for you? Do you have some good ways to reward yourself for being active? What keeps you moving?
Preparing for a talk on Designing your BEST ThirdThird, I made an icebreaker activity, noting people who made a big difference in their ThirdThird. People like Ronald Reagan (was elected President when he was 70 years old), Lady Bird Johnson (Beautify America), Mother Teresa. They did amazing things in their later years. Impressive.
Reality is that most of us are not going to make some significant difference in a worldwide or even national arena in our ThirdThird.
But, we can make a difference in the world around us, locally and relationally, in our ThirdThird. The differences we will make will most likely be similar to the ways we have been impacting people and situations in our lives so far, so you don’t have to look far or become a difference person to make a difference in someone else’s life.
The real challenge is to figure out what we CAN and SHOULD do to continue to contribute what we know and have experienced, wherever we are.
I am, obviously, interested in people who are making their ThirdThird their BEST Third. My husband has a friend who lives in Mexico City who writes about the great restaurants and food places in her adopted country. She is influencing many to try new foods and to explore new places.
Another friend has begun to create art in her 70’s. She has developed a personal style of expressing her perspective to enjoy life to the fullest in whimsical pieces of art that are selling well. She even offers workshops in her basement studio, encouraging others to express themselves and find an outlet for their creative interests.
I know there are men and women who love to offer their babysitting services to free up their kids to pursue their dreams and careers. An article in the local newspaper highlighted the courtesy car drivers for car dealerships who are mostly retired and make a difference by being interesting and cheerful for their passengers.
The women’s shelter in my community ran into serious financial problems when the State failed to come through with promised funds. When the news was discussed at the dinner table in the dining room of a retirement community, several women decided to get involved. They heard of the plight through another resident, the treasurer for the board of the organization. These 4 women decided to start a “$5000 Club” by each of them giving $5000 to the Shelter. Then, they wrote letters to their friends, inviting them to join their $5000 Club. Before long, their campaign had raised $120,000 and had started a larger awareness that resulted in $350,000 in total revenue raised.
That is making a difference!
So whether it is volunteering to mentor a student or to teach a class or contributing to a cause or reading to a child, you can make a significant difference.
Photo Credit: Amanda Creamer via www.creationswap.com
What is the story you are telling?
I am at an age where I have told my story a number of times, in a number of places, to a number of people. My story has become more and more consistent as I have worked hard to define what is important to me and what I believe deeply. “Worked hard at” means faced fears, listened to criticism, changed behaviors, stood my ground, moved, cried, laughed, stayed, left. I determined long ago that I would live my life with intention rather than letting my life live me. And that has taken work.
I determined long ago that I would live my life with intention rather than letting my life live me.
The most important people in my story are my husband and my kids… though none are “kids” any longer. And I don’t think of any of them as “kids” at all now, but as adults to be admired and valued and respected, each in their own right. Their lives, intertwined with mine, are the fabric I wear now. It surprises me, because “family cohesiveness” has never been a stated goal for me. The theme of my story is responsibility and choices–and personal discovery so that my choices are intentional and so that I am responsibly being the very best human being possible. My modus operandi? Grace and truth, always finding the balance.
What story are you telling?
We are all telling a story. To tell it with purpose and with as little regret as possible is a worthy goal. That isn’t easy… but it is worth the effort… continually.
Looking for a gift for yourself? Invest in knowing yourself better so that you can be intentional with your life choices.
DiSC is one of the most life-changing pieces of information I have ever encountered. Understanding my wiring allowed me to shake off the insecurities and self-doubt that plagued me for years. Regularly, I return to DiSC to help me understand others so I can make wise decisions about my own behavior.
We are extending our offer for Understanding Your Wiring just for you!
If you need to be reminded of WHY this would benefit you….here are five good reasons to invest in yourself! Read full post here.
1.) You can know your unique wiring.
You are wired uniquely and understanding your wiring (with DiSC) is a major key to success in relationships, whether personal or professional.
2.) You can be comfortable in your own skin.
Understanding yourself can make you comfortable in your own skin, which makes you less likely to compare yourself to others.
3.) You can acknowledge and celebrate your strengths.
Knowing your wiring allows you to recognize areas of strength that you can celebrate.
4.) You can find new energy for your dreams.
Your strengths celebrated can help you realize new and powerful potential for meeting the dreams and goals you have.
5.) You can find power and purpose.
Embracing your wiring is the key to learning to live your life on purpose.
And….for an introduction to the insights, there is a free quiz at YourBESTThirdThird.com….right on the home page!
I just gave a talk on “Which Old Woman Will I Be?” as a part of “That’s What She Said“–a local women exchanging stories event. It is a key/core story of mine. I’m not sure why, but I have always thought about what I’ll be like when I’m old.
I’ve always been fascinated by people and why they are the way they are. I’ve observed family and family friends age over the years and nothing has really surprised me at how they “ended up.” Seems to me that we just become more of what we’ve always been.
I had two kinds of grandmothers.
Grandmother didn’t have a television, but always had oatmeal raisin cookies and coke (in small glass bottles). She was widowed and her widowed sister lived with her. She was not particularly warm, but she was not unkind and was soft-spoken. Her sister, Auntie, bought the latest comic books for us to find when we came. My favorite was Chip and Dale. There wasn’t a lot to do there, but it was peaceful.
Grandma had a television, but could not be interrupted during her shows (I remember As the World Turns and Guiding Light). She was sharp-tongued, distant, and not kind, as I recall. Definitely not warm or peaceful.
It made me wonder what they had been like when they were younger and why they had become who they were.
They had both had difficult lives with young families. Both had been widowed during the Depression. Neither had great wealth, but were comfortable. Both had fiercely loyal children. One ended up self-absorbed (from a young granddaughter’s perspective) while the other was more approachable.
Who we will be when we are old and in our ThirdThird is going to be a less-filtered version of who we are in our younger years, our SecondThird, in particular. The older we are, the less we are concerned about others’ opinions of us and we have less energy to pretend.
I find that a lot of us have two kinds of grandmothers, if we have been so blessed to have two whom we have known. One we feel (felt) closer to. The other more distant in our affections.
I think about how I want my grandkids to remember me. I want to be the Grandma who is (was?) understanding, supportive, encouraging, kind. The one who shows up and doesn’t pretend, who says truth but is graciously tolerant.
And, maybe, the one who let them watch a little more television than I was supposed to.
I’m beginning to get a glimpse of what kind of old woman I will be and I am going to keep working on making sure I’m one of the nice ones!
I’m always on the lookout for people who are doing their BEST ThirdThird. I am drawn to people who are doing what they want to do, choosing intentionally how to spend their years.
Dave and I were recently camping in the mountains of Colorado. He was doing what he loves to do…. run.
This time, he ran in a 50-mile ultra-marathon, a trail run traversing rocky trails with a 3,000 foot elevation change. His BEST ThirdThird definitely involves running. Acclimating to the altitude had him out there for 2+ weeks prior to the race, I came in for day of and day after the race.
Part of my BEST ThirdThird involves supporting Dave’s keen interest in pushing himself physically as a runner. I “crewed” for him…ultra-speak for meeting him at the 2 aid stations possible with dry socks, hot tea and soup, and encouraging words.
Camping at 10,000 feet, the mornings were cold, we had no electricity, and the “amenities” were a stiff hike away. I didn’t mind… I was there to support and to experience.
We met a couple who were traveling in their pickup /camper. They were there, enjoying nature, for a week. Then, they were heading west to more mountains for a few days. Eventually, they’ll make their way back to Utah and home.
They take two trips a year. The other trip this year that they took in their camper/truck? Alaska! For 3 months! They love to travel and have found a way they enjoy traveling. No cruises for them, they said.
Being the not-shy person I am, I asked them their ages. Dave and I had both thought them to be mid-seventies. I asked when they told me that have a daughter my age (well, 62, actually, slightly younger than me). They are 82 and 84 years old! Hiking around at 10,000 feet every day. Walking to the lake and around the trails. Sleeping in their bed above the cab of the truck that crawling into can’t be a small feat. And enjoying one another’s company.
We found out their 64th anniversary was the day after Dave’s race. We took a bottle of wine over to their campsite along with our chairs and we heard of their family, their year long separation (unexpected, one week after their honeymoon) when he was drafted to Korea, a few of their other trips. They had blue collar careers, raised three children and have grands and greatgrands. It was such an unexpected joy to sit with them and watch the sun set up in the Rockies.
Mark and Bobbe. We won’t forget them. Living simply. Figuring out how to enjoy their (unexpected) ThirdThird into their 80’s! What great inspiration they were to us spring chickens on our 60’s!
I referred to myself as “old” at a physical therapy session recently and the PT (who is about 35, I’m guessing) chided me. I was using the term a bit tongue-in-cheek, because I don’t really feel old. In my head. Aging is real.
In my referral to this PT, I saw that my doctor referred to me as a “trim, pleasant, 64 year old woman” and it unnerved me a bit. Really? Me? A “64 year old woman?” That non-personal way of describing me caught me off guard. (At least she called me pleasant!)
In my head, I know I am 64, but I am still as energetic
and quick and robust, physically, as I have ever been.
Reality, though is that I am beginning to feel as if I’m “getting there” in terms of feeling old-er.
Who knew that our bodies start to poop out after 30? (Professional athletes know, I suppose.)
If I had thought of it, it makes logical sense that:
- Hips that have kept me moving for 64+ years might start to show some wear and tear.
- Birthing 5 babies (only one of five being under 8 lbs), might show up later…much later…in ways other than the joy of having grandkids.
At 64, I might not have hearing that is as acute or eyesight as keen or energy as abounding as 30 years ago.
And who knew that melatonin and its sleep benefits starts to poop out as well!? I read recently in a blog about all sorts of people “of an age” who wake at 2:00 a.m. Dare I say, “Me, too?”
Truth is, I do feel like I’m aging every day if I focus on what isn’t working as well as I want it to.
This week, I have decided that I am NOT a runner. I can walk distances at a hearty clip for a while, but running just isn’t working for me. After trying for more than a year to get my lungs and legs to the point they might keep going for more than a mile, I admit that I just don’t have a runner’s body (the physical therapist convinced me). That source of frustration and inner conflict is gone….runner, no more.
While my husband is in Colorado, acclimating to the high elevation of Steamboat Springs for a 50-mile ultra-marathon, I have decided I am not a runner. He sees running as what he was created to do. He is most alive running. He has studied and planned and prepared for this run…and there will be others.
Dave’s great love of running is why I tried to love it….and why I am able to lay it aside. It’s not for me.
I’m not giving up my goal of staying fit and active into my 80’s…no way! But, I will be more realistic about what that will look like. And I will do what I enjoy, not what frustrates.
As with most things, this is a mind-set problem.
I can think of myself as “old” or “pre-elderly” or “aging.”
OR I can focus on keeping myself active and engaged, planning to be fit and active into my 80’s and beyond….with just a little bit of tweaking as I go along.
The last thirty years (or so) of our lives has so much potential and so many possibilities! I talk about our ThirdThird to anyone I connect with for longer than to exchange money for groceries or passing in a parking lot. Watching our son compete at Special Olympics event, chatting with the waitress, running into an old friend at the grocery store, meeting someone new at church.
Any age….you don’t have to be IN your ThirdThird to think about and plan for your ThirdThird.
I have a new office space in a shared area. Most of the other people renting there are young and creative. Web designers, furniture designers, artists…budding entrepreneurs, all of them. I’ve had interesting conversations with them about the ThirdThird. Even though all of them are either in their FirstThird (gap year) or just entering their SecondThird.
One said, “I know that I will still be designing.” Another turned to their business partner and wife and asked, “What do you think we’ll be doing in our ThirdThird?” Others ask questions and are thoughtful.
On the other hand, I talked with a 70-something, still working, man yesterday who has no plan for what he will do in his ThirdThird, other than begin to work less. Maybe he will make a video of his belongings so his sons will know what they are and why they were special to their folks when he is gone. Maybe he will start exercising more often when he is no longer working, but he just doesn’t have time now (doesn’t like to exercise in the evening, doesn’t want to get up earlier). His father lived into his 90’s, so he expects to himself. But he doesn’t know what he will do…..so he keeps working at a job that he only slightly seems to enjoy. He should be in better shape, he told me. He should be planning for his next steps, he told me.
My motivation for talking about our ThirdThird, and for building programs for helping people design their ThirdThird, is because of people like the 70-something I spoke with yesterday. He is setting himself up for disappointment.
Fear is a great motivator.
I am motivated by the fear of wasting 30 years. I am motivated by the fear of looking back and feeling like I didn’t live on purpose. I don’t want to miss the opportunity to share the lessons learned and the mistakes made to make a positive impact.
We’re putting together several resources for people to use to plan their BEST ThirdThird. The first one is entirely FREE! It is a simple, on-line questionnaire to show you your “ThirdThird Tendencies.”
It’s a place to start. And it’s free.
Try it! And let me know how you scored and what you think of your results.