There’s a yogi on Instagram I follow who regularly posts a saying that always speaks to me: “You have the tools; you’re just distracted.” I mostly apply that to my writing projects; but recently I started applying it to my physical fitness.
Six years ago, when I was 50 years old, I would leave my 12-hour hospital nightshifts and head straight to Lynn Brick’s gym three times a week to run on the treadmill. Lift weights? Wasn’t interested. I just wanted to run. I thought running was my key to fab fitness – mainly looking slim and trim in jeans and my hospital scrubs.
Fast forward to now at 56 years old and an apartment full of gym equipment (a step for step aerobics, a stationary bike, a kettlebell and free weights: a 15 lb., two 10- lb., two 5- lb., and two 3 lb.) – all of which offered a high level of motivation when I bought them
(about three years ago). But my fascination with them and my yoga mat, the spin cycle DVD’s, my Zumba DVD’s and the kickboxing weight bag I bought when I saw Michelle Obama working out with one, faded fast as the dust on them got thicker.
I still had my sites on running, which I couldn’t do because I’d overdone a running session (sometimes I forget I’m over 50) and was sidelined. But wanting/needing to run wasn’t my only distraction. Ignorance (which can – and should – only be bliss for a very short period of time) was my biggest hurdle.
When I started running at 50, I was so happy about it that that’s all I did. That’s all I wanted to do and all I thought I needed to do. I never took the time to research keeping my core and quads happy to protect my knees. Nor did I worry about the importance of stretching out those muscles after my hour-long running sessions. Why did I have to worry? I didn’t feel any tightness, no pain, no soreness after I ran – just pure sweaty bliss. I was running! That’s all I cared about – until the first time I limped home from a run. Took me a year to walk without that limp (left knee). Then it took me another run where I pulled something behind my right knee, and another year of pains and soreness before I realized (Duhhh!) that I was going about this all wrong.
I dusted off my yoga mat first. Just the warrior poses alone made me realize just how much strength-training I needed. Limiting the practice of yoga to merely a foundation for physical fitness would be a disservice though. Yoga continually pushes me physically and mentally; and it’s the mental part that finally convinced me to wipe the dust off all of my weights and commit to a new level of fitness – one where my muscles enjoy a loftier priority; a plus for us 50-plus ladies.
Oh, I haven’t forgotten about running though. I’m just not distracted anymore by the high I get from it. I’ve prioritized my physical needs. Proper weight training will strengthen my muscles, which in turn will mean less chance of injury when I run!