Does Your Purpose Change With Age??

Why do you workout? For what purpose do you train? If you have been working out for any length of time (years), has your perspective of “why” evolved?

I recently became sick and found myself taking about 2 weeks off from my routine. This is the first time I have had any measurable time off for about 2 years. I typically lift 3 times per week and run or do some kind of cardio 3 times per week.

To give you a little background I’m approaching 51 yrs of age and I began exercising at 13. Over the years I have been kind of steady. Never taking a full year off but certainly life has gotten in the way (good & bad) and I have found myself in cycles, on/off/on/off.

During that time when I didn’t miss I had very focused goals in mind. Races, increase in amount of weight to lift, decrease of body fat, etc. Once I attained these goals I would then relax my intent.

I never thought that approaching any age would change me. But my routine took on a whole different attitude in the year approaching my 50th birthday. I DON’T MISS!

What strikes me now, and I see this in my senior clients is that my purpose has changed dramatically.

My seniors are amongst the most loyal clients that I have. It takes a mountain for them to cancel an appointment. They’re not concerned about bigger biceps, they’re not signed up for any races. They are very happy to come into the gym get their workout in and then get on with their lives. THEY DON’T MISS.

So what is different? Certainly, even if we don’t have full time jobs we still have schedules and obligations. It’s true just ask anyone who is retired, and they will tell you that they are busier now than when they worked.

Priorities have changed. And along with them so has my outlook on health & fitness. I still enter races, and oh yes I’m still very concerned with my aesthetics.

But now when I enter races it’s much more about having fun, rather than faster times, and being with the community that I enjoy so much.

Currently my oldest client is 86. She sees me 3 times a week and plays golf twice a week. I train several people in their 70’s and a few in their 80’s. They just want to be the best they can be for where they are in their lives. They are very happy to be using 2, 3 or 5 lb weights.

They are grateful for every day.

I’m a couple of decades away from these folks but I can relate more and more to what is most important in their lives.

Don’t get me wrong I still want to be in front of my friends at the finish line. And I still peek over to see how much weight my contemporaries are lifting.

But as long as I am exercising most days of the week then I am satisfied with where I am. I know that I am doing all that I can do to enjoy MY life and be as fit as possible.

We are all somewhere in the continuum of life. And the same goes for the level and intent of our health & fitness.

So what about you? And I realize that this question goes out to those who have been at this game for a long time. Has life changed your perspective concerning your goals? Are you as competitive as you use to be? As long as you are active there really isn’t a wrong answer to this.

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2 Responses to “Does Your Purpose Change With Age??”

  1. tonygiov Says:

    I’m about the same age as you, work in a fitness center, and can relate to much of what you’ve written.

    In the past I’ve never managed to stay with any fitness program for more than 9 or 10 months. Sometimes the break would be a few months, other times it would be several years. I was always active and lean, so working out was more for outward appearance than anything else.

    But as I approached 50, something changed. Fitness became more about health and maintaining vitality. Performance and function became more important than just having big muscles.

    I’ve been working out consistently for over two years now. I can’t say that it’ been easy, I struggle with motivation all the time. The only thing that works for me is to constantly challenge myself with new goals.

    A year ago I decided to start training to compete in masters track & field meets. I’ve always been very competitive, and track allows me to harness those juices and focus them on something that helps get me into better shape. It’s tough, it’s challenging, but so far it’s kept me going.

    At this point I am still measuring how well I’m doing by comparing myself to others. Maybe not the most well-adjusted way to look at yourself, but it has pushed me longer and harder than I’ve ever worked out in the past.

    • longevitypt Says:

      Thanks Tony – I know for myself that having a training partner certainly helps motivate me during my workouts. And yes having races and/or events in front of me completes the training “purpose” circle for me as well.

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