My last post here in the Zen blog touched on "movements we're losing as humans". As usual, I shared the post in our Zenergy Health & Lifestyle Facebook Group . I received a notification of a comment on the post today and saw this little piece of 'awesome-ness' from my client:
"How true! I can’t believe I played baseball and/or slow pitch until I was 42 and when I stopped my body literally stopped as well. The motion/movement I have gotten back at 60 since working with you for the past 20 months has saved me. As you know I am on day 5 of a 12 day Mediterranean vaca. The first 3 days was literally full days walking everywhere in Rome. Never got in a cab or Bus. I said to Mike that could not have happened if it wasn’t for you and working on getting my body properly moving again. We have 8 places now to stop at and many more miles to walk and steps to climb. I am ready!"
Proud coach here! Wow.
First of all, it warmed my heart to read this. These are the reasons I do what I do and love to coach people with their health and lifestyle practices. The little things. The experiences they have in their lives BECAUSE THEY TOOK THE TIME to take care of their health and wellbeing. I love it!
Secondly, I wanted to touch on my client's first line of her comment:
"I can't believe I played baseball and/or slow pitch until I was 42 and when I stopped my body literally stopped as well. "
This brought me back to a conversation I had with my doctor (a sports med doc as well as GP). I suffered chronic hamstring strains in the latter part of my soccer career and at the time I was concerned I was doing permanent damage to the muscle. My question in addition to that for the doc was, "should I be considering retiring from soccer?" His response (after telling me I wasn't doing any permanent damage), was incredibly powerful and I've used his words with clients and friends ever since;
"Don't ever stop doing what you love, unless you absolutely have to! It's when people stop, that they begin to run into physical and mental problems."
[Ironically a year later, I ended my career due to an injury. Go figure.]
His words however have never left me, and my client reminded me of it in her baseball comment. Sometimes, we stop doing things we love because of reasons out of our control and the reality at that point in our life; family, work, injuries etc... Sometimes though, we stop doing things we enjoy (not just sports) because "we're too old for that", "I don't have time", etc...
Here's what I've learned in that regard both professionally and personally...
If you truly love something, DON'T stop!
In the case of sports, our time playing a game we love for most of us has an expiry date. Some are lucky; such as an old friend (R.I.P) of mine who was in his early 80's still kicking a soccer ball around!! I've learned however that although your game may stop in the way it was (competitive leagues etc), that doesn't mean you "have" to stop completely. Perhaps you get involved in other ways in the game, or you "tone things down" and make it more fun and relaxing, such as a pickup game with friends once a week. With many other hobbies/activities in life that we love (art, music, woodworking, gardening etc...) we have even more reason to keep them as part of our lives for the long haul!! It's SO HEALTHY for body, mind and soul.
Don't tell yourself you CAN'T do something if you haven't practiced!
Sometimes we avoid things that maybe we've never tried OR that we had a negative experience with previously so assume we "can't" anymore. If you used to love playing a sport or doing an activity, don't say you CAN'T do it anymore - try it! Adjust the scale a little bit if need be (try a pickup game instead of competitive, do the sport/activity with a few friends for fun, play around with an element of the activity but maybe not the whole thing right away...) but TRY IT. You may surprise yourself.
In this client's case, I shared the story about how previous injuries made her avoid doing stairs properly, so she did them "like an old person" (her words, not mine). By practicing, having a little support to try it and focusing on the movement itself we very quickly re-instilled her self-confidence and physical ability to DO IT!! Showing that our mindset is a MAJOR barrier OR a MAJOR boost.
This summer I had a similar experience when I played in a our club's co-ed 5v5 soccer tournament AND a memorial game for one of our club's long time coaches. I was nervous and scared that I was destined to hurt myself again, that I couldn't play and have fun again because I'll just hurt myself... Guess what?? I had an absolute blast both days!! After not playing for 4 years, I fell in love with playing the game all over again just in a different way. It was played for fun, laughs, memories and love of the game rather than play hard, shut down the opposition and win.
If you have something you're passionate about, MAKE it fit into your days!
I had a client tell me when he retired, that he needed to get a hobby again. He said he used to have several hobbies. I asked what some of those were. One (to my delightful surprise) was drawing. When I asked why he ever stopped, his answer was "I had to work for a living". Sorry, I don't agree with that statement at all. Not to mention it makes me sad to hear it. What kind of a "living" do you have if you're not including the things you enjoy??? Sure, work may reduce the time you have to do a particular hobby, but to completely toss it aside when you love it, that's wrong. Not to mention hard on the soul. In this case, something like drawing can be done easily after a long day at the office to not only settle the body, but the mind as well. Even if it was just a doodle pad by the chair in the living room kind of thing.
You're NEVER "too old" for something.
I think my generation may be the first of the generations where some of the things we did in our younger years are still being done as we get older. Perhaps to a lesser extent sometimes, but still a part of who we are. I have NEVER believed that you're "too old" for anything. We "get old" because we STOP. We "get old" because we GIVE UP. We "get old" because we think we SHOULD NO LONGER be doing what we enjoy. Just as you're never too old to start including healthy lifestyle practices into your days - you're NEVER too old for the things you love!!
Back to my client's comment; Here's another part I'd love to add my thoughts to...
.."The motion/movement I have gotten back at 60 since working with you for the past 20 months has saved me"
Let's crunch the numbers:
60yrs old (present) - 42yrs old (when retired from baseball) = 18yrs later
After 18 years, she's chosen to work on her movement and lifestyle habits, which has led to being able to experience some wonderful memories in life!! Once again reminding us - It's never too late to make positive changes to your health and lifestyle. As I eluded to in a previous post about this client's preparation for this trip; This client has made her health and lifestyle a priority. Not in a way that overtakes everything else, but rather as PART of her normal daily/weekly routines. Because of this, she has the confidence in her body that she can do it and she's able to experience wonderful memories NOW... which she may not have been able to do handful of years ago.
If we set our ego aside...
Do little things to improve our health and wellbeing...
And include things we ENJOY into our days/weeks...
We can be healthy, happy humans.