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🤸‍♀️Becoming Fit for Life #009: Aging Actively, Trackers, Injury

publishedabout 1 month ago
3 min read

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This week in building health

What is it like to get more athletic as you age?

Someone shared with me this essay on getting MORE active as you age. Here's the paragraph that got my attention:

How is it, at age 41, that I feel like my body can do more — and that I can take more joy in it — than ever before?

For me, it feels like I experience the opposite of that.

In my 20s, I was in the best shape of my life. I was an elite athlete. I was lean and strong.

After that I started to decline. I simply couldn't do the things I used to be able to do.

Many athletes experience this decline in their 30s. It's just that in our 20s, we're so full of energy and vitality that we take it for granted But the decline is real and it can be devastating.

In my case, it lead to a loss of motivation and a feeling that their best years are behind me.

How curiosity instead of competition can spur athleticism

But this essay comes from a person who didn't exercise at all in the 20s. They felt left out of P.E. classes and never saw themselves as athletic.

Slowly, over the years, she found a way to grow into athleticism. Another quote:

Instead, I feel something far more akin to curiosity. If part of me feels weak or tweaky, what’s struggling in other parts of my body and needs strengthening? And if I’m attentive to my body, if I’m legitimately kind to it, can it do more than I thought it could?

It's a mindset shift that I admire, and that I am trying to practice myself

The shift from performance to exploration

It's been a long time since I've been able to run fast, or jump high. I used to love throwing the javelin and doing the pole vault. Those things aren't in the cards today.

Even though I can't do the things I used to do, there are still plenty of things I can do.

I can still go for hikes, I can slackline, I can garden and do heavy yard work.

So instead of asking how can I do what I used to do, I'm going to ask:

What can my body try now?

How can I explore new boundaries, both physically and mentally, that I may never have explored before?

my favorite health things this week

It's not unusual for athletes to fall to low activity when they're done

I'm pulling an idea from David Epstein's newsletter Range Widely.

He's writing about making people lifelong exercisers, and he notes that athletes actually revert to levels worse than non-athletes when their competitive lives are done.

As I've said, I feel that a lot. There's that feeling of having been there and done that. So getting myself motivated to exercise is much harder these days.

The Dark Side of Trackers (article)

I think a lot about the balance between data and intuition.

I can't deny that health trackers have helped us a lot. But sometimes I feel like they don't really help us build real health skills.

Too often, habit tracking devices focus on a one-size-fits-all approach, which doesn't work for everyone. And while some apps allow for some degree of customization, they often don't go far enough to meet the unique needs of each individual user.

How to train effectively around pain (article)

At some point, everyone gets injured. It's inevitable. It's just part of being active and alive.

Pain is a complex subject, and we all experience a bit differently.

But we usually fall into 1 of 2 approaches with pain:

  1. Complete rest
  2. Grit your teeth and push through it

But there's a third option. Don't let fear take over and force you to stop moving altogether. Is there a way you can creatively (and safely) work within your limitations

updates on my work

I still have a few spots open for 1:1 coaching for the next few months.

If you or anyone you know has been feeling really stuck in their health, and are looking for ways to get out of that rut, I'm accepting new clients to work with this month.


Thanks for reading.

Be well this weekend,

Javier