I started this article when I was given an assignment to audition for a freelance writing gig. I never submitted it because it looks like my life will be taking a detour once again and my writing will have to be on hold. But I thought it might be worth a share.
By the time you are 55 you have read at least 55 articles about how to stay active. If you moved past the “I should do something” stage you may have even made a chart, or requested that free ebook. But if you are reading this you are still looking for that one thing that can actually make it happen. It might be here.
Brainstorm a list of activities that brought you joy when you were young. Don’t judge as you write, just make the list. Often, activities we have given up to the past are more accessible after our families are raised, or they can be modified to fit our present circumstances. If the activity you choose is fun then you are less likely to miss it.
Find a Playmate
Who makes you laugh? Can you plan to be active with that person? One of the easiest ways to stay active is playing with children. Kick a ball. Ride a bike. Go on an explore. Grandchildren can keep you moving longer than any professional trainer. If you don’t have grandchildren borrow some. Many families live far away from grandparents and would love to find the right person to fill in.
Get a Dog
Getting a dog needs to be considered carefully, but dogs cared for properly need to be walked and played with. Both these activities will get you moving. Add to that the benefits of companionship and unconditional love and having a dog can be the perfect answer to becoming more active. If you are unable to make a serious commitment to a dog consider dog sitting or walking a neighbor’s dog while they work.
The Spice of Life
Routine can squelch joy. Take that brainstormed list you made and pick at least three things you can start. Every day try to do something active. If you are a more spontaneous person you can wake up and choose one activity from your list. If you are a planner you can chart your activities for the week, or even for the month. Just make sure you change them up enough to keep boredom at bay.
On Rainy Days
If you are one of those dedicated runners or walkers that are out in the rain daily then you don’t need this article. But if you are like most of us and chilly, wet weather tends to keep you in then it’s important to find some indoor activities. Some suggestions are: 1) Turn up the Oldies and dance. Music you listened to when you were younger can bring smiles and a bit of that youthful energy. 2) Invest in a Wii. A variety of active Wii games are available that can be played with friends or individually. 3) Rainy days are a good time for strength training. Get a small pair of hand weights and Google how to use them.
Try Something You Have Never Tried Before
Be bold. Sign up for a class, Tae Kwon Do, Yoga, Aerial Yoga, Ballroom Dancing, Synchronized Swimming, to mention a few. Nearby universities and community centers often offer reasonably priced classes like these.
Watch Your Language
The words you say can make or break your success in everything you do, but especially as you set goals to be active. Listen to the folks around you. People who are constantly talking about being old are less likely to be active. Being senior can bring a few extra challenges but learning to think and talk in possibilities instead of hurdles can make all the difference in the success of meeting your goals.
Plan a Dream Vacation
Having a trip to look forward to can give you the incentive to take action. If you know you will be walking to the top of a lighthouse, or up the steps of a Mayan ruin, then you will be motivated to get in good enough shape to enjoy it. There are some amazing places to experience in this world. Pick one and train for it.
Keep a Journal
Take a few moments each night to write thoughts about your day. Journaling is a good way to discover how you are spending your time. It is also a great way to count your blessings. Every day there are little miracles all around us- that butterfly that landed on your hair, a child’s giggle, a cool breeze, a hug from a friend, or the moment you woke up and you realized you had a whole day ahead of you. Make your journal a happy place, full of the good parts of living. You may need to spend some time writing about difficult things before you can get to the good stuff. If you do need to write out the hurt, write on a loose piece of paper. I call this a “dump” page. After you write out all the junk, pray over each item, then tear that page up and throw it in the trash.
Watch children. If you keep them away from electronic screens they are naturally active because it just feels great to be doing and moving. Be like a child. Find the thing that brings you joy. The joy will get you moving.
Photo by Josh Willink on Pexels.com