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In the Mind's Eye: Fitness As We Age

Tree pose on the beach during the sunset.
Yoga is a great for self-discovery and exploring human movement.

Have you heard the saying "age is nothing but a number"? I have heard it a few times here and there. Age really is just a number and in this case I am referring to fitness as we age. When I was younger and fresh out of the military I was already experiencing crippling back pain. I was stuck in bed for about a week until the spasms passed. I would have to get muscle relaxers from my doctor to help ease the pain, but I was still stuck on my back . . . in my bed. As time went by and I was well into my late 20's but approaching early 30's I experienced new pain and discomfort in my neck, shoulders, back, and knees. The older adults would tell me "it's because you're getting old". They would say this in a manner of almost condescending, but welcoming me into the group of human discomfort. I suppose misery does love company. These were coming from older adults who were 40 and 50 year of age at the time.

Now I am in my 40's and I think it's safe to say that I feel better in my 40's than I did in my 20's. Along the way, with education in fitness and human movement science, I learned a few things and apply it to my everyday life. Something I wish I would have done earlier in my life and I could have saved my self countless of hours, perhaps months on my back unable to move. So, perhaps it isn't that pain and discomfort is from aging, but more from not taking care of our bodies. As our society advances, so does our education and understanding for the human body and our movement. I have found yoga to be one of my favorite ways to express my self-discovery and explore my human movement. Yoga has absolutely been a wonderful tool and focus in my life.

yoga pose downward facing dog
Downward facing dog

Everyday I take time for myself and stretch, even outside of yoga. One thing that I have learned to do when it comes down to fitness is put in the time. Even if it's a 15-minute workout or a 15-minute brisk walk; its still a workout and the body is still burning calories. Staying active is the secret to staying healthy. Of course, the fuel we put in our bodies play a huge role in human health, but as far as physical activities go, the body simply wants to move. You don't need to "crush" the gym every session. You don't need to come walking out of the gym all sweaty and shaky like what is being promoted as cool on social media. If you are like me and sensitive to social media content, to the point where it consumes your time, stay off of it. Pull the plug on it. It literally gives you no value. I have heard people say they find themselves watching TikTok for 2 hours when they only intended to do a 15-minute scroll through; that's unbelievable. Remember that if something is free, then you are more than likely the product. Don't let anyone or anything use you like that.

Yoga pose warrior II
Warrior II

Give time to yourself. Be gentle and explore your body's movement. Don't force your body to do something it simply can't. What is really impressive with our body's is how adapatable we are. Our body's will adapt to the stresses it is placed under. This could be a good thing, but it can also be a bad thing. If you do some kind of exercise, or movement pattern, incorrectly you are essentially wiring your brain to move this way and now we have a habit. Your body will move the way you taught it to. This is why I stress, explore your body's movement. Do what feels good; be metally present in your body during movement. Don't force something you can't physcially do. Seek out a professional so they can teach you the movements safely. Or not. YouTube is there, so is Instagram, and you can find social media "fitness influencers" to teach you something, but remember if its free, you are probably the product.

Stay safe, stay active, and smile. Your brain can't tell whether or not you are faking the smile or not. Try it! Untill next time! PEACE!

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