Recently, I was talking with a few (over 50) fitness friends and I posed two questions to them:
1. What is your motivation to exercise?
2. What are some of the hurdles you have faced on your path to get and stay fit?
I know both questions will be answered differently by a 30-year-old and a 50-year-old. But the over-50 group’s answers weren’t all that different from each other.
The motivation to exercise may be a little different to each individual, but not one of them said they were motivated by how they wanted to look.
That is huge I think, because so many people are motivated by vanity. And maybe after 50 we realize that vanity is not a good reason to do anything. And maybe we are wiser to the real meaning of life, or maybe we just know there are so many things out of our control, or more than likely we become less shallow. Hopefully.
Of course, we are all trying to look our best for our age, but it should not be the motivation for exercising. As one of my friends said, it is all about health. I couldn’t agree more!
It’s about being healthy, decreasing the risk of diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure, as well as being mentally healthy. After all, exercise is a great stress reducer. It can send your worries packing!
For some, it can just be a way of life. One of my pals said her father encouraged her as a young girl to find an activity that made her happy. That is really the key. Because you will not stick with or continue anything that you are not enjoying. You will stay motivated longer if you are enjoying it.
Several friends said they just wanted to be the best they could be — best mom, best wife, best friend, best person. Exercise and staying as fit as you can will help you to do that. And that is the best motivation!
Just like in life, there will be obstacles on any journey. You must overcome many obstacles on your journey to be fit. Lots of them. Continue to plow ahead.
While there are obstacles that originate at home or work, several of my friends mentioned hurdles from within themselves, like patience and ego.
You will need patience to overcome injuries or setbacks. You will need to be patient if you are injured and can’t go fully back to your routine because you might injure yourself again.
Injuries are a big hurdle — but also, ego: overcoming that comparison to what you used to be able to do, or what your mind thinks you can do, or wanting to compete with that person next to you in class.
Age has a way of smashing the ego into smithereens. Joke’s on us.
Another hurdle one of my friends mentioned was just plain ol’ confidence. Again, another hurdle that comes from within.
Know that all people face these hurdles. Some are tangible, like your kid is sick and stayed home from school, but many are intangible, like confidence, self-esteem and patience.
Just knowing that others over 50 are probably dealing with the same thing is helpful. Talk to your fitness friends and ask them how they manage, how they stay on track and how they keep their motivation.
It’s amazing that some people literally never miss their workouts, and some of these folks I know come to every class. I am motivated by their motivation!
They are dedicated to the results they see. They are motivated by having more energy and being stronger and more functional.
Those folks are highly motivated, and motivation comes from within. It is within you too. So, don’t let 1 or 100 obstacles slow you down. Face it head on and keep going. Hop over that obstacle and start looking for your motivation. It’s out there!
Ann Angell is a certified instructor and personal trainer. She is fitness director for the YMCA of Calhoun County. Her fitness column appears the third Sunday of each month.