Work With What You Have!
I've wanted to write about this subject for a long time and now seems to be the right time. Why? The "why " is part of the story. Let me start this discussion with a few questions.
Do you look at Instagram or Facebook and compare yourself to the people you see online? You see smiles and beautiful bodies, and you deflate. You think that you will never be one of those perfect people. And I am talking about the ones our age. You need to understand that an aging human being is behind those smiles and beautiful bodies. They have their physical issues, their personal tragedies just like you. We're all in this together.
Do you wish you could work out and feel better and stronger, but you have health issues, and they don't? Do you think it's easy to work out when you look fit and healthy? But fit and healthy doesn't describe your sixty-five-year-old body, so you give yourself a pass on fitness.
Let's have a little reality check here. When I wrote "Train to Age," I wasn't talking to the 65 or 70-year-old who had been an elite athlete. I was most certainly not talking to only the fit and healthy. Our bodies wear out regardless of our previous fitness status, and we are all slowly falling apart.
If you are aging and in perfect health, that's awesome! If you're aging and struggling, I get it. If this year has taught me anything, I've learned that I have to keep climbing that hill for as long as possible. The bad circulation in my legs is irritating but controlled with the silly compression socks. OK, Grandma, I am so sorry I laughed at your socks. The breast cancer was scary, but that's over with for now. Now it's time for the five-year countdown.
But the thing that recently threw me off track was what they call a "trick knee." My left knee works most of the time, but sometimes I stand up and get a little surprise when my knee decides it's on vacation. Just to be clear, when your knee goes on vacation, you hit the ground. After an x-ray and an MRI. I have physical therapy and a brace to wear when I feel like I need it.
Now here is the story. I thought if I wear this brace, who will want to train with me? I'm going to look like a complete idiot. I hate feeling weak. But, I'm sure everyone feels the same way. Then I finally got my brain into gear and realized I can squat without worrying about my knee giving out. I can spot my clients without worrying about my knee. And, I don't have to wear it all the time. I need to follow my advice. It's easier said than done.
I tell clients all the time to work with what they have. I tell them that I can modify anything so they can keep working out. I have a client with Parkinson's who never complains. I watched a man workout on crutches for at least a year. He showed up and did his training with what he had. I've seen folks work out with bad knees, shoulders, and in pain. I have no right to complain, and in fact, I have a responsibility to keep moving on, just like I tell my clients.
Training to age isn't just for the fit, the thin, or the strong. Training to age is what you do to live as well as you can for as long as you can. It's about vacations and grandchildren. It's about long walks. It's about doing the things that make you happy. Sometimes, just like you, I forget that. Thank heavens I have awesome clients to remind me.