August 25, 2014

Never Ever

One of the other highlights of being in Montreal at the swimming championships was meeting 92-year old competitive swimmer Charlotte Sanddal, who has a world record in the 50 meter butterfly. She began swimming masters at the age of 72. See her photo below! Even after falling off her bike four years ago and breaking a hip, Charlotte still swims a half mile every day.

92 -year-old Charlotte Sanddal and Cindy. (... I know!)
Charlotte said that instead of running for the coffee pot, she begins each morning with a short series of stretches in bed and then gets down on the floor and does 20 push-ups, which wakes her up. She concludes her day with a healthy dinner, a glass of wine, and 20 more push-ups before retiring for the night. And these are "man" push-ups. How do I know? Because after her race she got down on the ground and demonstrated them for us. Just like that! She said that she is delighted to still be able to swim and participate in life. She also reminded us "to be mindful and to always notice how we feel."

Which brings me to this:

I think that getting and staying in shape for many people might be one of those "Don't know, what you don't know" type situations, until it happens. Fitness isn't so much about looking well and being comfortable in our clothes at midlife, it's more about feeling well and being fit as we grow older. Like a piano, when our bodies are tuned-up, they work well.

When you realize that muscle burns more than 3 times the amount of calories than fat, you can see what an additional benefit exercise is. Our bodies really can be like well oiled machines. At this point in our lives, they need to be our first priority or our health goes downhill fast. As a former out-of-shape person, I am familiar with what a waste of time my lack of fitness was for me- in all regards- as in how many times a day it was physically, mentally and emotionally an issue for me. With only 3 half-hour workouts a week, and mindfulness about what we are putting in our bodies, this can be turned around quite easily. We just need to make the decision to do it. We also need to get clear with ourselves about what stands between us and having a body that truly supports us and that we love.

People who say they hate exercise usually haven't stayed with it long enough to feel it's incredible benefits and life force.

As therapist Cindy Brennen says, the first thing that she prescribes to someone who comes to her for stress, anxiety, or depression, is exercise.

It has been said that it takes 21 days to form a new habit.

There is no better time than now to start.