Early in January, I posted that My 2020 Word Of The Year is Values and listed my core values, that define who I am and how I intend to live my life. This is the first in a series that will examine each of those core values. Each day I like to check in with Craig Harper’s @whiteboardlessons on Instagram as I find them an inspiring way to kick off a new day. Co-incidentally, the quote below popped up the day after I wrote my #WOTY post. It expresses my feelings about my core values exactly.
How Fitness Became My Priority
Since I first discovered exercise, many years ago, in the year that I turned thirty, I have ensured that fitness is a priority in my life. Up until then, exercise didn’t feature in my life, in any form at all. When I was about to turn thirty, I felt an overwhelming sense of doom. I mistakenly thought that I didn’t have many years of life left, I was overweight, and felt very sluggish, due to lack of exercise, and the unhealthy food that I was eating.
In my mind, it was get healthy and fit, or die, so I joined the gym and threw myself into exercise. I must have been the most enthusiastic member in that gym. I was at the door every week day, waiting for the gym to open for a 6am weights session, and would follow up with a vigorous aerobics session, often going back for another one, later in the day. Do you remember Olivia Newton John’s Song, Lets Get Physical? This was the 80s, and we were wearing brief leotards with matching headbands and leg warmers. Embarrassing! Of course, when I first joined the gym at my heaviest weight, there were no leotards for me. I would be in the back row wearing something that covered me up entirely, and feeling embarrassed.
But very quickly, I lost the weight, and became a qualified gym and exercise to music instructor, and eventually became manager of the gym. I then wore leotards of different colours and designs every day. Those were the days! Aerobics classes, in those days, were high impact, and done in bare feet, on concrete floors. I shudder at the thought now! The ‘dodgy’ knees that I have to cope with today, are legacy of those early days of aerobics.
At the time, I had three young children, and a business to run, so it really took some serious organisation skills, to fit exercise into a very busy life, and without it being necessary to be away from the children for long periods. I did this by fitting my gym sessions in very early in the morning and late at night.
Very quickly exercise became a priority for me. My feeling of well being was at a level that I had never before experienced. I promised myself then and there, that I would always do whatever it takes, to make exercise a priority in my life.
It has been a very long and winding road since then, with many a U turn, but through it all, exercise and fitness have been my constant. I feel fantastic when I exercise, and I never want to lose that feeling. Although as the years have progressed, I’ve needed to adjust the way I approach exercise. In my younger days, I was quite gung-ho about it. But at about age 55, even though I was still exercising more than most, I now needed to reassess the type of exercise that I was inflicting on this ageing body. These changes had to be reviewed constantly and slight changes Needed to be made to the type of exercise in the programs I was following, along with the duration and intensity. I realised very quickly that these changes were vital, in order for me to be able to exercise at a fairly intense level, in my older years. I was getting a few warning signs, such as new injuries, and flare ups to chronic injuries, which told me it was time to make modifications to my programs.
Today at age 65 and about to turn 66, and still working at a job where I’m on my feet all day, I’m fairly pleased at how I’m holding up. I can get through a day at work without getting sore or tired legs or feet. My gym program is fairly intensive, while omitting certain exercises that cause grief to my knees. I’m sure my fitness and strength come from a commitment to making exercise a priority in my life, and being consistent with that, no matter what it takes.
Having said that, I have to say, that I am currently dealing with another injury. My knee pain flared up about four weeks ago, which meant I couldn’t do any weight bearing exercise for the first two weeks. Since then, I’ve been able to do upper body workouts with lighter weights, so that there is no stress put on my knees. I’m still not able to walk long distances, but I can ride my spin bike, although, with no resistance for now. I find this quite frustrating, but I’m pleased that I’m able to keep turning those peddles and it won’t be long before I’m able to add resistance, and get back to spin classes again. I’m sure it won’t be long also before I’m out there walking the long distances and bushwalking that I love.
As I write this, I have just returned from seeing the sports physio. Even though my knee is a mess (his words) he seems to think that without a base of good fitness and strength I’d be in a much worse position. This just reaffirms to me that all the sacrifices I’ve made and time I’ve spent ensuring that fitness is a priority, has been worthwhile. Now that I’m training for retirement, I need to accept that my body is ageing and slightly weakening and I need to train in a way that will support that process. The good news is I don’t need surgery on my knee, but need to strengthen the muscles around my knee, so that my knee is well supported. This much better news than I was expecting.
So, even though my year of fitness in 2020, hasn’t started with a bang, or as I intended, I’m not too upset about it. I’ve had a warning, and the physio seems positive that before too long I should be back to my old self. This injury has challenged my core value of making fitness a priority. When my core values are out of alignment, I tend to feel very low, and half expect the world could come crashing down on me at any moment. At times like this, I find it’s best to concentrate on my other core values, those that I have control over, and ensure that they are in alignment. This should balance things out a bit. It’s not a perfect plan, but it’s the most workable one that I can come with just now.
Paying particular attention to my other core values is working for me, and while I’m struggling with my core value of making fitness a priority, my other core values are definitely on track.
Have you given thought to your core values? If so, I’d love to hear about them. I love it when we have a conversation and promise to reply to all comments.
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