What is Your Why?
If it's been a very long time since you've found yourself working out, you may be wondering where to start. If you're an active ager, the best place to start is with your "why." It's fine if your why is to look better or lose weight. There is nothing wrong with those goals. But as we age, often our why is driven by the changes in our body. We get slower, weaker, and put on weight around our middle and we don't like it.
Everyone needs a "why" before they start a program, regardless of age. Those with no why are doomed to fail. No one makes the effort to work out three or four days a week without having an understanding of what benefits they expect for all that work. They make the investment of time because they understand their personal "why." In my experience, you either need to love your workouts or to love your results, and both require you to know your why.
What do I see most often as a "why"? Loss of arm and leg strength is at the top of the list. Loss of strength happens so slowly that it's a surprise when getting out of a chair, booth, or off that cozy soft couch suddenly becomes difficult or even impossible. Once you notice the loss of strength, you have one of two choices, live with it and expect to continue to lose strength as you age. Or work to rebuild some of that lost muscle mass and slow down your muscle loss. Assuming you are relatively healthy, you are not doomed to be weak and frail in your later years.
Falls and bad balance are a close second." We can all hit a slick spot and find ourselves on the ground, but multiple falls and injuries are a big why for many people. And let's face it, when you find yourself truly unstable, it's really terrifying. I have a couple of clients who simply work on leg and core strength because they have already experienced bad falls. And they are now more stable and surefooted than they were prior to starting training.
Your why belongs only to you, and there is no wrong why. Whether you want to continue to maintain your independence, play with grandkids, travel, or even care for a loved one, your reasons for working out belong to you. And they are important!
There is always a reason why not. You're too tired or too busy to start something new. Maybe you think it's too expensive but there are free resources online. You might think it's too late. It's not. It won't be easy but beginning a fitness routine is possible and you always begin where you are and move forward from there.
What you have to define is your big why. How important is it to you to stay strong and maintain your health through your sixties, seventies, and eighties? What do you want to accomplish during those years? What's important to you, and how will aging affect those things if you don't stay strong? Remember, much of what we call aging is a lack of movement. How does that thought help define your why?
Find your why, then join a gym, take a class, do a video, and just get started. Keep that why on the refrigerator, the bathroom mirror, or any other place you will see it every day. Get a copy of "Train to Age" and understand all of your options for training. Try out different options, find some that work for you and be consistent. You can do anything. You're never too old!
I'll be starting a podcast soon and will be talking to folks who found their why and started to workout. Some have worked out for years, some are just getting started. They all know what their why is and that keeps them moving forward. I hope you'll join me for the journey.