I’ve always tried to live by the motto that age is only a state of mind, and I think in a lot of aspects it’s true, but let’s be honest: sometimes my body can’t keep up with my youthful mind.
For example, I want to party like it’s 1999, but I often fall asleep before 9:00 p.m. while watching TV. I want to drink into the night with my friends, but after 2-3 drinks, my body says, “Feeling pretty buzzed now, that’s enough.” Anything more than that and I sleep like crap, waking up with night sweats and bed spins. Remember when having a few drinks was the pre-party?
About 8 years ago, I started eating a vegan diet and was feeling really good and started focusing on fitness. I started running and trained for long-distance races. Physically, I was in the best shape I’ve ever been. Then the left knee started to hurt and I found out I have arthritis, but with periodic injections, I could continue to run. These days, I’m not running and the knee feels pretty good and I haven’t had to have an injection in over a year. I listened to my body, backed off on the running, but I’m able to do other types of workouts that aren’t so hard on my knee.
A couple of years ago I joined a gym and started lifting weights and doing all kinds of exercises that I never thought was possible for me to do. I was instantly addicted to the feeling of increasing weights and getting stronger. I started experiencing arm pain, but chose to ignore it because my youthful mind said to power through it. Turns out that I ruptured a disc in my neck (and I also have some arthritis there) and almost had to have surgery, but luckily, it healed on its own with rest and medication. Once I healed, I tried to go back to the gym, but the drive and motivation were gone. For the first time in my life, I started to think that maybe I’m too old for this sort of thing. I know that there are plenty of people my age (and older) who lift weights and are badass, but my body was telling me to stop.
For once, I chose to listen to my body and now I’m doing workouts that incorporate light strength training and low impact aerobics. I love it. I’m feeling good and my body seems to be happy with me.
My still youthful mind wants to continue to try new things and my body says, “Sure, let’s give it a try” but instead of just powering through things, I’ll take things slow and not push myself so hard. There’s no need for it. I may not be in the shape I was in a few years ago, but I’m still fit, active, and healthy!
May your glass always be full,