I like to think about July and independence and what that means on a personal level. What does independence mean to you? Of course, you think of being able to do what you want, when you want. And part of that equation is your “physical” independence – and what it means to have the ability to “get up and go!”
I’m soon to brush up on my 59th year and my body is not the same chassis as it was in my 20’s, 30’s, and even 40’s. More parts ache. I have 2 replaced knees. I get tired easier. And one the bigger challenges is that I THINK I can still do all those things, I WANT to do all of those things, but my body isn’t cooperating in the way it used to. Can you relate to that?
It reminds me of the chorus “When your mind makes a promise that your body can’t fill” – Old Folks Boogie, Little Feat https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cc5N5KRAZ-s
Does it mean you are “over the hill?” NO. It just means you are on different terrain. It’s time to get smarter about how you train and how you play so that you can maintain your independence into this sweeter part of life. The arc of improvement has subtlety shifted.
In my late 40’s I discovered road bike racing, joined the local team, competed in the Master’s division, and loved every minute of it. I learned more about the strategy of racing the different types (road race, time trials, and criteriums) and found that I excelled at road racing. It took time and a training commitment and was so much fun to focus on this new thing with a team. I even won the Washington State Best All Around Road Racer award for the Masters “B” (35+ year olds) division. Was I as strong or fast as I could have been in my younger years? Probably not. But it still felt good to have the challenge and a new goal.
Now, 10 years later, I’m not competing like that and that’s OK. I’ve shifted my training to support Doug’s and my cross-country bicycle journey. WAY different – we are riding our fully loaded bikes (mine weighs 75 pounds) and we average 10 mph on a day’s 50 mile ride (including lots of stops along the way) and that slow pace is just fine with me. It’s a different way to train but certainly still a challenge.
The point is, if you have an activity you love and you need to shift how you do it to accommodate your body’s changes, how can you shift? I see tennis players getting smarter all the time – less running the ball down, more strategy and ball placement. More coaching and mentoring of younger players. A little slower pace, but still all the enjoyment. I see this with runners who cannot log the miles as they used to, shifting to walks or riding a bike and enjoying that new perspective.
Do you know the one thing that is guaranteed to help you maintain a higher level of activity and physical independence? Weight training. That’s right, lifting weights. It can even help you with flexibility. All you need is 2X per week to make a difference. Having strong muscles will help all of your other activities (from on the court to in the garden), will help with posture, will help with injury prevention, will help with fall prevention, will help with bone density, will help you feel like your body is ready to go.
Don’t be afraid of taking on something new or shifting something you love. Be smart and support your body with weight training. And GET HELP with that: Get started with “W8” programs in the Strong and Zone areas for workouts on your own; book a personal training session if you want a little more help (SPECIAL 3 60-min for $199), try our “Performance” Small Group Training that helps you track your progress (max 5 people/class), and if you are not a member, sign up for our IGNITE 28-Day program to get started on your own independence.
Robin Robertson, Owner & Manager
Founder: Healthy Knees Coach
Author: Healthy Knees Cycling