I have been a steady exerciser since 1971, when I discovered Dr. Kenneth Cooper’s seminal book, “Aerobics”. Not simply satisfied with cardiovascular training, however, I have also incorporated yoga, body weight exercises, weight training, and other physical activity into my personal exercise plan(s) over the years.
I said, “plans”, because, despite of a basic core that I worked around, as I worked out, as life happened, circumstances changed, I learned more, and I grew older, I sometimes had to change my exercise routines and methods.
Still, one central fact was that exercise was part of my life. Even as I moved into my 60’s and 70’s, I kept on exercising regularly. My body changed, and, so, sometimes, my exercise changed, but I stuck with it, and was rewarded with pretty good health, beyond what my genetics (my mom’s 100 years old) provided.
However, time, and events DO catch up with us sometimes, and a new “normal” may become the accustomed lifestyle without us realizing that we have made a change, perhaps in a downward direction. As we age, things commonly get harder, and, it’s sometimes so very simple to just do a little less, or expect a little less of ourselves.
This happened to me a few years ago. My disabled wife and I moved in with our daughter, and took up residence in a small suite of rooms on the second floor of her house.
The ultimate challenge to an arthritic, “elderly gentleman” as our other daughter refers to me.
Once we settled in, the stairs became my enemy, my nemesis, and, eventually, I would stay upstairs to avoid going up and down them.
As you might expect, not only did they become psychologically a barrier, they became a physical one as well, as it became harder and harder to go up and down them.
I did not like this turn of events. I, the active senior citizen, was being turned into a recluse, trapped in my garret, overlooking a small patch of street.
I decided to exercise my mind…
Thinking things over, I realized I was approaching the stairs with the wrong mindset. I was assuming that the stairs were hard to do, so, I didn’t do them.
That wasn’t the person I’ve been all my life.
Changing my thinking, I decided that the trick was to make the stairs easier.
How do you make something easier?
You practice it.
I decided to do the stairs at least three times a day, whether I needed to go up and down them or not.
The first few days were difficult, I admit. I separated the trips so that I did one set in the morning, one midday, and one in the afternoon or evening.
Hard at first, I stuck with it, and, after a few days, it became easier.
I then expanded to four trips, five trips, and, eventually six trips a day.
Then, I started walking four days a week. First for 10 minutes, then for 15,.. and, to make a long story short(er), I stuck with it, and am now walking 45 minutes a day, five days a week.
I have also lost 35 pounds over the last nine months, and stairs?
All because I stuck with it.
Those are the 4 words that comprise MY motivational exercise mantra. My exercise program worked because “I stuck with it… “
While what you choose to do, how you do it, how often you do it, and other factors are all important, nothing works unless you stick with it.
Hope this little story helps you.