At the tender age of 54 this subject becomes more and more important to me with each passing year. You don’t get to this age with out some lingering memories of exercise gone wrong. I am talking here about old injuries, which can be a big limiting factor when it comes to either getting back in to a good exercise routine or maintaining one. As with all things, it usually comes back to how you look at it. The mind can either help you get around this or allow you to use it as an excuse to not do anything. I find the trick with this challenge is to go back to a process focus and forget about the end point.
When you stay transfixed on what you ‘used to be able to do’ or have unrealistic expectations about your results, you are setting yourself up for failure. It really comes down to the age old principle of starting small and then building slowly but surely. If you keep to the task and deliver on the action, pretty soon you will arrive at a better place. It’s hard to do rehabilitation exercises for example (this is me!) when all you really want to do is start lifting heavy weights again. But you just gotta do it first and know where you are at, not where you might want to be in some far off future or past (glory days!)
So what about energy? How do we manage that when there is just so much that can eat away it? The irony of exercise is that doing it well means that you actually gain energy. How is that possible? See this article in Science Daily for more clues. Have you ever felt so tired but then have gone out for a walk only to feel better and more alive when you get back? Most people have experienced this. Sometimes it is better to know from doing rather than to just know. You action will trump your theoretical knowledge every time.
Right now in the midst of Covid 19 and the havoc it is bringing across the world it is more important than ever to have the regular exercise plan dialed in. The benefits of being one of the few across the world that have the habit of exercise in their life are almost too numerous to mention but again my suggestion is to not intellectualise this too much but go out and let the rubber hit the road anyway you can.
I am not saying you have to run or walk or whatever, just find something active that you enjoy and get started doing that. And maybe try this little experiment. Whatever activity you decide on, go ahead and see if you can do some of it everyday for 21 days even if it is just 1 min. I would recommend something that can be very low intensity as well as quite invigorating.
It won’t be possible and certainly not advisable to go out and ‘smash’ yourself with high intensity exercise for 21 days in a row. Just so we are clear, it will be the act of doing the same thing each day that will start to produce the mental magic. Try it and let me know. Walking would be a great choice or a stationery bike at home. 21 days to your new habit? There is a stack of hard science backing this as the time frame to work to but of course not everyone agrees. I always believe that there is variability across individuals with literally everything but treat the 21 day thing as a guide and a good starting point. Document your action and also how it makes you feel. I am thinking….much much better! Good luck.