When I was a teen, I used to worry that being over 50 years old automatically meant that I was expected to sit … all the time. And that it was expected that I’d have body aches and pains – that they came with the privilege of living long enough to become middle-aged. I vowed then – as I practiced weight-lifting with 64-ounce, unopened juice cans – that I would fight to keep that from being my fate. But back then I wasn’t sure how I could stop it. What if nobody had a choice? What if a person’s body just felt so worn down that living a sedentary lifestyle was the only choice a person had?
When I was younger, I fully expected to feel like I was 50 when it arrived; and in turn feel unmotivated to do more than sit. But instead, when I turned 50 I joined a gym and started running. And with each year since then, up to and including turning 56 in 2018, I have yet to feel like a 50-plus-year-old who doesn’t want to leave the couch except to eat and pee. I no longer go to the gym, but only because of time
and transportation constraints. Instead, I’ve filled my apartment with all that I need: a stationary bike, a step for step aerobics, a kettlebell, free weights, and a yoga mat. I have a monthly membership to gymbox.com where I can choose from a variety of 30- or 60-minute classes. I also have DVDs for yoga, spin classes, and hard-core cardio; plus there’s there’s YouTube and the Internet for motivation. I’ve recently stepped up my yoga journey to practice daily. And during the warm weather months, I stay active outside with my grandchildren who run/walk with me.
I fully embrace being a 56-year- old woman, and I’m grateful that I don’t feel the physical issues that I thought would automatically pop up at this age, keep me from being physically active. See, I learned something that I didn’t know when I was a kid: I’m in control of my physical health.
What could be better for this life’s journey than that? There are so many people who truly have no control of their physical health, and don’t have options. Their only choice may be to sit on the couch or lie in bed. But for me to allow my muscles to deteriorate and my physical health to decline because I’m not moving enough is a waste of life.
Taking control of my physical health wasn’t hard. I just had to make the decision to do it. First by eating healthy; then by making sure I move my body daily.
These days I know that how much I sit and let my muscles weaken is up to me. I also know that the more active I am, the healthier my physical health will be.
It feels good to be in control of my health.