Does it feel as if getting fitter has passed you by?
You have to go to bed earlier now. You need more sleep. You can’t eat as much as you used to. The hangovers are so much worse. You’ve started grunting when you get out of your chair and you can’t remember where you left your reading glasses. The same reading glasses you didn’t have ten years ago.
You feel conflicted
Defiant - why shouldn’t you just get older as you are? Who says you have to take better care of yourself? Resigned - you can’t stop the march of time. Worried - you don’t want to spend most of the rest of your life struggling to walk or get out of an armchair.
Feeling fitter feels great
OK, so you’ll never run a marathon in under 3 hours - which you might have done if you’d been the star athlete at school. But let me tell you from experience how fantastic it feels to start getting stronger.
I must have been fitter at 42 than I was at 20. It felt - and still feels - fantastic.
No matter how small the change, you’ll notice. You’ll sleep better and - if you really up the exercise quota - be able to eat a little more again. You’ll start to realise that you really can get stronger.
Unfortunately, you won’t make much of an impression on the hangovers and a certain amount of stiffness is inevitable. But at least you’ll be hunting for those glasses with a spring in your step.
In other words, should you now make any kind of forward progress whatsoever with your fitness, you will be doing better than you were at 20 (apart from hangover recovery, obviously).
Compare this with the keen athlete who’s been going for personal bests all his life. He has peaked by now and won’t ever be as fit as he was at 20 again. The poor guy needs your pity. Not only can he not find his reading glasses, he can’t get a personal best in a park run for love nor money. His Lycra doesn’t fit like it used to and doing something about that is going to be a lot harder for him than for you.
For us, the only way is up and the sky’s the limit. Any fitness-related habit you build up now - anything at all - will be an improvement on your youth.
Things you can do
So raise a glass (of water) to your 20 year old self, and have a look around for an activity that you think you can keep up. Walking will do. Or walking a bit further. Or a bit more regularly.
Adding some kind of resistance training is particularly good for us oldies. Even if you do a few bicep curls with a couple of tins of baked beans it’s a start - especially if you make it into a habit. How do you feel about 10 lunges? Or if that feels too hard on the knees, start by sitting down and getting up without using your hands 10 times?
It ALL counts - especially when it’s a down payment on a mindset and habit that helps you to get fitter.
Why not bite the bullet now - make a resolution to improve one aspect of your fitness.