Much of the beliefs about our body stem from how we grew up, our gender, and our age. Let's challenge the thinking that may be trapping us from living a physically healthy life.
In high school, I was an athlete. I swam competitively for 8 years almost year-round. I ran a few 10Ks in my 20s but then gave up the idea of being athletic as we had children and settled into family life. My body changed through those years and I believed the changes were normal. I rationalized my ‘busy life’ as an excuse to not exercise.
In my 50s I took up running again. As I crossed the finish line of my first half-marathon, I challenged my thinking by asking myself, ‘if I could run 13.1 miles, what else could I do?’ I had to put away my belief of what was normal for a woman my age. I got a bike and started to ride. Then I got a wet suit and did a few triathlons. I'm more physically fit now than I was in my 20s.
But Mom & Dad said, . . .
Do you believe so-called ‘facts’ about your body because your parents said they were true? Will you ‘always’ be fat just because those in your family are? Are you ‘nonathletic’ or ‘uncoordinated’ because someone once told you so? Do you believe that you’ll hurt yourself if you sweat?
Challenge those thoughts. Your life's your own. Don’t allow someone else’s idea of what your body is capable of limit you. Test the waters. Physical activity is good for us at any age.
Our bodies change with each passing decade but not nearly as much as we might think. Look forward to your future health! Do what you want to do, not what do you think you should do.
Do you want to feel energetic? Then get your butt off the couch and move it. Do you want to dance? Shake your booty! Do you want to hit a good golf shot? Then lift some weights, do yoga for flexibility, . . . and practice. Do you want to ride a bike? Strap on a helmet and go for it! There's nothing like riding a bike to make you feel like a kid again!
What we eat matters so much. I hate to say it but it becomes a bigger deal as we age. You may have been able to slam down 2 big macs after a drinking binge (that may or may not have happened) in your 20s but your body won't recover from that as quickly in your 30s, 40s, 50s or beyond. Challenge your thinking about your eating habits. They must change over time in order to feel well.
Sleep is extremely important too. As Americans, we boast about how little sleep we can get by on. That's just plain wrong. What do you think about sleep? Have you noticed you need more or less than in the past? I've noticed I sleep better when I'm active. What we eat at night can also affect our sleep. Think about your sleep as an important part of how you feel. WARNING: Don't compare your sleep to anyone else's, including your spouse. Each of our bodies is different. You aren't 'stronger / better / more capable' because you need less sleep than the next person. Likewise, you're not 'weaker / needy / lazy' if you need more. It's your body - just do what's right for you.
Here are some questions for you to challenge your thinking about your physical health during this decade.
- What do you believe you are physically capable of? Are those your own ideas or set there by someone else?
- Have you ever said, 'I'm too old to do that?' Is it absolutely true?
- What do you believe is 'normal' about your health? Where do you get the definition of 'normal'?
- What activities are you not trying because of your gender?
- What activities would you like to do? What's stopping you from trying them?
Here are some more questions to challenge your thinking about becoming healthier.
- Are you getting proper nutrition each day? Why or why not?
- Are you getting an adequate amount of exercise each day? Why or why not?
- Do you wake feeling rested? Why or why not?
- What needs to change to care for your physical body in a better way?
- Who benefits when you have a healthy physical body?
- What role does prevention play in your physical health?
- What can you do to prevent illness?
- How are you managing your stress? How is that working for you?
Challenge your thinking about your physical health. You aren't the same as everyone in your family. Your age doesn't determine your ability. Your gender isn't a reason to limit your physical strength.
Challenge conventional thinking. What's worked in the past may not work now. It’s your body. You’re the only one living in it. You can feel better than today if you want to.
The key is to have the right thoughts.
Read my other blogs about challenging your thinking.
Mental Health - Challenge Your Thinking - Growing Mentally and Emotionally
Spiritual Health - Challenge Your Spiritual Thinking