“You have survived 100% of your difficulties, that’s a fact!”
I loved this quote from Dan Harris (Ten Percent Happier) because it’s true. If we are still alive, we HAVE survived 100% of our difficulties. Sometimes the difficulties are small and sometimes they are the size of Mount Everest, but if you are reading this, you have survived.
I’d like to take a bit of a turn from thinking about difficulties and consider the concept of endurance and opportunities. In life, we are racing a marathon, be it slow or fast. We are in it for the long haul. As with training for a marathon, it means that we work hard to be just a little bit faster and go a little further, much like life. As we age, we may not be as spry or as fast as we were, but should we just chalk it up to aging slowing us down or have we slowed down BECAUSE we are getting older. It’s a subtle mind shift in how we view aging and our health.
Just because we are older, should we be slower and weaker
Society, especially here in the United States tells us that as we age we should be weaker and slower. Just because society tells us that, does that mean it is true? Let’s look at this in terms of our daily life TODAY, right now during this time of pandemic.
Where are we today vs. a year ago
Are we moving more or less than we did a year ago? Because of the pandemic, many have stayed at home and watched more TV, read more books, etc. to the detriment of physical activity. Walking around the kitchen 20 times, that can’t be fun under any circumstance and definitely not a substitute to a walk at the mall or around your block with your friends.
Did you know that in a recent study of people over the age of 59, they were walking 6,000 steps BEFORE the pandemic and now report an average of 1500 steps. That is a decrease of 75%.
What should we do? I submit – MORE THAN WE ARE DOING. We must get moving.
Less than 5 percent of adults participate in 30 minutes of daily physical activity, once again, this was before the pandemic.
The U.S. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion recommends that adults should do 20 – 40 minutes of physical activity a day.
Watching a sitcom on TV vs. being healthy
Think of it, moving 20-40 minutes a day is barely one episode of a sitcom. Would you prefer to spend your time doing that at the detriment to your health? Don’t forget that it’s also important to keep our heart and bones in good shape with resistance exercises. Some studies have reported that practicing just one hour per week of resistance exercise was enough to reduce cardiovascular disease risk. So, you can grab a few cans from your pantry and do arm work WHILE watching that TV show. Just a thought.
Exercise is lifestyle
The reason I like to exercise is purely lifestyle focused. Resistance training is good for doing the everyday things like laundry, lifting bags of groceries, pulling up tight window shades and today I had to lift my 70 pound dog and carry her across the driveway so she could get groomed. Let me tell you 70 pounds of dead weight dog is not easy.
We take for granted being able to do these things until we can’t. Imagine if you could not do these, how would that affect your quality of life?
Building endurance with everyday activities
If you follow my blog, you know I love running. I like the quiet time alone on the roads, I like the feeling of sweating on a steep hill and I generally love it. I feel better after I run and my mindset is better. I’m not fast, but I try to push a little each time. I pick a tree and do a sprint to it or make sure that I don’t walk up the hill, even if the running pace is the same as my walking pace. It’s part of my endurance training. Endurance work seems to have a more positive effect on cellular aging, and who doesn’t want younger cells?
A few little tips
You don’t have to be a marathon runner and I’m not, but I believe that whatever you do, you can do a little more. If you walk to your kitchen, do a few more loops around the house if you can’t get outside. Can you walk to get your mail, repeat that loop. Can you walk around your block, then increase and take another loop. Little bits can and do add up. Think of it as the building blocks for your body.
I am always sad when people think that they have to be at a gym, or carve out 30 – 60 to work out and then don’t do it because those two options don’t work for them or they get busy with something else. Just do little things that add up. Take the steps a few more times in your home. Walk around the house, something – anything.
The growing epidemic in this country and other countries of obesity and inactivity will kill us. We are seeing that people who are obese have a more difficult time if they contract COVID. If you fit into this group, just do 2 minutes more each day for a week and then add 2 more minutes, literally just getting up and moving more can yield health benefits and maybe save your life. The benefit – you will feel better. Here’s a quote from one of my clients that worked with me to develop their Tiny Habits to get back into to exercise.
Thank you, Sandra. I had such a good day yesterday and I know it was due to Tiny Habits. Like so many people, the pandemic has thrown my life into disarray. I had become an “everything or nothing” person, going from walking/hiking 4-5 miles per day to nothing! But if I can start “tiny,” I know I can find a way to get exercise back into my life. – Laura
When you do a little more each time and build muscular strength and endurance you are better able to do the things you love. I don’t know about you, but I love walking the dog, gardening, checking out the fish in the pond and yes, running. We are in this world for the marathon, not the sprint and our body deserves to be as healthy as it can be. Please work your way back to health and fitness.
For some simple and easy strength and balance work download my FREE Better Strength and Balance in Less than Five Minutes a Day.
More on endurance and resistance
Recommendations from the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion for the U.S. government recommendsTrusted Source