Motivation Older Adult

Midlife for some meant a brand new, red, sports convertible. Others changed careers. A few grabbed the folds around their middle and decided to get back into shape. Recalling vigorous days of yesteryear sent them out the door sprinting. Moments later they slowed, grabbed the back of their legs like injured Olympians, and hobbled to the nearest easy chair. They consoled themselves with cold drinks and remote controls. They sat around and expected to get old. They did.

Another group of 40 year olds took a different approach. At 6:00 a.m. they donned their extra-support, running shoes and converged at a local gathering area. They moved slowly almost walking. Within minutes they were jogging and chatting while navigating solitary roads. There was no competition. Front runners were careful no one fell off the pace. A rebellious upstart quickened the tempo but was ignored by the pack. The group began and finished together. Nobody flaunted their speed, career status, or education. Racial differences did not exist. They were runners and their goal was fitness.

After months of training, a few eager competitors decided to test their mettle in a race. They knew it was unrealistic to win because college track stars had little difficulty obliterating a field of over 40 wannabes. But age group competitions were fierce. Gray haired wonders hit the wall, until they heard clapping. Middle aged folks were remarkable when they detected an audience. Suddenly an uncontrollable urge spured them. Their feet attached to another's body. They flew without effort. They crossed the finish line and their watches told them they achieved a personal record (P.R.). You would have assumed they won gold medals. There was a singular pleasure in defeating prehistoric comrades who were desperate to win. Regardless of the outcome, they were buddies. Victory was replayed when the group recounted the finishing kick. As youngsters they didn't workout. Exercise came naturally. They pedaled bikes around neighborhoods. Or met at baseball fields and played all afternoon. Summers meant cooling off at the pool. After 40, other priorities replaced training. Weeds infiltrated sidewalks. Children yearned to play. Spouses delivered lists.

But you did not give in. You dictated the health benefits of daily training. You became an illustration of exercise induced energy. You informed your spouse about the stress busting effects of activity. Then you demonstrated how grouchy you would be without daily exertion.But your spouse declared that household chores should be your exercise of choice. She explained that yard work and gardening were fresh air training programs. Mowing the lawn was as greuling as a five mile run. She instructed you to trade the tractor mower for a push model and spend the savings on a rototiller. After you finished the lawn, she placed a PowerBlock in front of the television so you could exercise to your favorite sitcom. On Monday, she showed you how to attach SportCord to your computer desk to get a workout at the office. When you reached the big 40, research demonstrated that your metabolism slowed. According to experts you lost muscle and gained fat. That was not a requirement. Your genetics may have predisposed you to accumulate fat. But your choices might have prevented it. If you designed your eating to fuel your muscles you starve your fat cells. Training is easier when you stoke your muscles for workouts. Carbohydrates and protein energize you for peak activity. Eat and drink correctly and use a variety of mid-meal snacks to fill in the gaps.

After your fortieth birthday allow for longer recovery between workouts. Warm up prior to vigorous training sessions. Cool down when you finish and stretch after that.

Structure your evenings to retire early for uninterrupted sleep. You may enjoy between six and nine hours of rest, but you require several hours of deep sleep to rebuild and energize.