Seven months ago, I was chatting with a lovely lady who wanted to find some motivation to get moving. She had been an athlete in high school and college but stopped playing sports when she hit “middle age”. I get it. We get busy with our careers, our kids, and we start to feel “too old” to focus on “play”.
In our hectic lives, we often focus so heavily on work and family commitments that we never seem to have time for pure fun. Somewhere between childhood and adulthood, many of us stopped playing. Others of us, like me, never played at all. As adults, when we carve out some leisure time, we are more likely to zone out in front of the TV or computer than engage in fun, rejuvenating play like children do. But play is not just essential for kids. It can be an important source of relaxation and stimulation for adults as well. Play can add joy to our lives, relieve stress, enhance our ability to learn new things, and connect us to others and the world around us. Play can also make work more productive and pleasurable.
In the words of George Bernard Shaw, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” Play can boost your energy and vitality and even improve your resistance to disease, helping you function at your best.
In my talk From Couch Potato to Woman in Motion in 5 Easy Steps, one of the steps is Do Something You Enjoy. Getting and staying fit does not have to be drudgery. In fact, it should not be drudgery or you will not stick with it. Believe it or not, I love *almost* every minute that I get to run. I “get” to run. I do not “have” to run. It is the highlight of my week, and every day that I get to run (about 4 times a week), I feel better for having done it. Don’t like running? That’s OK! There are tons of ways to get active and I encourage you keep looking until you find the one that brings you joy. How about dancing, biking, or swimming? There are plenty of options. Do what makes you happy!
The best news is, there is no magical age when you have to stop doing what makes you happy. I walked my first marathon in honor of my 40th birthday and started running shortly thereafter. In honor of my 50th birthday, I ran the 48.6-mile Dopey Challenge. This winter I plan to ski for first time in more than a decade. My friend and client who I mentioned at the beginning of this article recently walked her very first half marathon at the age of 65 years young and had so much fun she is planning on doing another. Another friend, who coincidentally also just turned 65, is training to consistently run a 5K. You never get too old to set new goals! And you are definitely never too old to go out an have fun!
Photos from the ZombieRunner Halloween 5K and Half Marathon:
Looking for some simple exercises to keep you moving that take almost no time, no equipment, and can be done anywhere?