As a near 43 year old woman, this question has crossed my mind a few times. My body is not getting any younger! Maybe I should just pack it in, get my lounge chair and sit and watch, like so many others do… I could hang up the running shoes, not play the sport I love, not race around in my spare time and just chill with a cold beer in hand…and maybe take up playing Bridge (not that there is anything wrong with that of course!)
So why do I feel compelled to move this middle aged body of mine. Yes the average age of Australian women is 86, so I now have to sit myself in that age bracket descriptor! You would think after 2 kids, a multi level spinal surgery, sporting injuries, and over 30 years of play I would feel like I had achieved what I was capable of, that I would feel ok with pulling back and pulling up stumps.
So here is the thing… today, I completed the longest distance I have ever walked / run. I entered into a 37km charity coastline walk. It was damn hard work, and I am now sat up on my lounge with a beer in hand! But I did it. I had not walked or run for any distance longer than a 10-12 km distance and it was a tough walk along sand, rock, hills, and stairs, and plenty of them! WHY?… because I can!
There are plenty of people my age I know who are fighting off lifestyle illness, excess weight, arthritis and joint complaints, or who are just to stressed out to even contemplate a challenge like this charity walk, and while I do understand where they are at, I struggle to understand how they got there, and why they choose to stay in that situation. For some of you this will sound harsh, and thats OK, it is a harsh truth. Your lifestyle is your choice.
We have so much choice, in fact perhaps too much choice and this could be where our demise begins. We can choose what to eat for dinner straight of the supermarket shelf or from the takeaway store , no preparation required for a cheaper price than buying organic wholesome food to prepare a meal. We can choose what to consume on a screen when we want and how we want any time, anywhere. We can choose to take a Panadol before we even reach for a water deal with our chronic dehydration when we have a headache. Our poor choices are causing us to live a poor quality life and we are creating chronic and debilitating illness and aging before out time.
Today, as I walked I came across people of all ages and sizes and majority of them women. At one point I stopped to retrieve some sand from my shoes to help avoid blisters. As I looked up I watched these people walk on by at different paces and stride lengths and it occurred to me that it could be this simple. If we were all to start walking in the right direction and just continued to walk with consistency and with the support of other’s our health and lives could be so much more simple and we could initiate a positive change.
So why don’t more of us do it? Why?
So my theory on this was brought to life as I walked by a lovey lady who was starting to struggle on the back end of the walk. I encouraged her on and we chatted briefly. She said she almost stopped at the last checkpoint but she had registered for the whole walk so she kept on going. She just had to keep going because she would have never have forgiven herself if she didn’t, and she would have regretted not continuing. I let her know I was super impressed, that she was really amazing, that she would feel so proud of herself, and that her family had an awesome role model.
Lets bring this into context. We may set ourselves goals in life, in health, in education, in our career, in our relationships, in fitness, in weight loss, in finances, and there will, if we have set the bar high enough, be challenges. So what do we do? Do we can it and give up because it got hard and why would be bother making life harder than it needs to be? Or do we just simply set our goals so low that the challenge is minimal and that makes life easier for us. The key and the answer to success in any goal is “Adpatation to change”. For adaptation to occur we must challenge ourselves, our body our mind. If the challenge is enough to cause change we must choose to push through the hard times and the struggle. If the challenge is too low adaptation will not occur as change has not been necessary. For adaptation to occur we must be consistent and keep moving towards our goal day by day, step by step, even when sometimes the steps are two step forward and one step back.
In order for us to make good choices and set realistic goals we need to be well informed. And this is where so many people either learn and move forward, or they pick the one piece of information that gives them an excuse to take an easy option out. I mean when they tell you that red wine is good full of antioxidants and therefore reduces your risk of heart disease and cancer, and coffee can stimulate fat metabolism its an easy story to hold on to right. The thing is life is far more complex than that, and we have so many options to choose from. We must ensure that we get the big picture before we put all of our eggs in that basket for our own health and wellbeing sake.
Today as I walked, it concreted in my belief that the moment you give up is the moment your life stalls. You need to know how far you are going to walk and you need to set smaller goals and have checkpoints to bring it all into perspective. You must work within your limits but be willing to push them. We must keep moving in the right direction and be consistent We must be willing to find out the details, ask questions and find supported answers. Why? Because we have this choice, and because we can.
I have made it my choice to live my best life, to boost my nutrition with top quality products, to consume that which helps me adapt to change, to research and find options that are clinically proven, that have the recommendations from multi-faceted professional backgrounds and that give the platform I need to perform at my best, and to do that which challenges me to adapt and change. I want to show my children that they can if they make the right choices. I will not give up on living my best life right to the finish line… will you?