This post isn’t for the fit chick or the buff dude, this one goes out to anyone who has ever wondered…
Is it too late? Should I even bother?”
[Spoiler alert: Yes, yes…YES!]
My father visited me in class today.”
I casually mentioned this to my husband over dinner last night. He raised an eyebrow as he knows my dad has been off this earthly plane for over two decades, but it’s not the first time I’ve had this experience.
It’s always a man in his late fifties or older. A fatherly figure I suppose. The week before our wedding, it was a very fit and happily retired professor. He applauded after most tracks and beamed from ear-to-ear when I announced in my BodyPump class that I was heading off to San Francisco to celebrate my 40th and get married. This was the image of the man my father could have become.
Yesterday, the man who appeared, though, more closely resembled the man my father had become.
I knew it was this man’s first BodyFlow class, but I didn’t know much more. After class, he shared with me and another member that he didn’t used to be “this out of shape” (his words, not mine). He told us about how quitting smoking 20 years ago had spurred him to work out every day and maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle. But, over the years, the extra weight had just crept up on him. And, his current job as a public school administrator didn’t afford him the time to hit the gym during the week…and weekends were needed to take care of everything else.
Will this class help?” he asked.
I nodded encouragingly. I could see his shirt was half-drenched with sweat, and there was a victorious energy about him.
We are not burning a massive number of calories in this class, but we are healing the body from the inside out,” I explained.
He looked intrigued, so I continued:
By training our bodies to stay out of fight-or-flight mode, every process in our body improves – heart, digestion, immune, anti-inflammatory. We feel good afterwards from the way the yoga postures open us. Not only do they allow our muscles to stretch, they allow trapped stale energy and emotions to release. The quiet introspection that arrives from the connection of breath to movement in Tai Chi brings presence to our breath in meditation.”
He nodded and added:
I almost died a few months ago from some medication I was taking for my stomach. That was my wake-up call. I know I need to do something, but…”
His voice trailed off and he looked away. When his eyes returned to the present moment, I could see traces of embarrassment and fear when he said:
I’m just wondering…is it too late? You know, I am 59 years old.”
I looked at him with a half-knowingly smile. My dad died from sudden cardiac arrest at 59. He, too, wasn’t overweight until middle age. He, too, was a public school administrator. And, maybe, he, too, wondered whether it was too late to do anything about the extra weight surrounding his vital organs. I’ll never know, so I simply replied:
I left it there because I needed to reflect on the messages I sensed. I didn’t sleep well last night because it was still crystallizing. This afternoon as I waited for my next BodyFlow class, the takeaways started formulating.
1. Giving up is incredibly destructive in our world.
Giving up hope, giving up on life, or giving up on some sort of vision or dream is disheartening, restrictive…and way too contagious.
Your giving up goes beyond you.
When you individually give up, there’s a good chance others in your inner circle do as well. And through social media, our inner circle is now larger than ever. Conversely, when we act with hope and expectation, there is also a ripple effect outward. A positive contagion.
The question is…which contagion do you want to be a part of?
2. We’ve lost sight on what our bodies were designed to do…and what they were not designed to do.
Our bodies are meant to move. They are not meant to stay in any static position (standing or sitting) for long periods of time.
3. Whatever you do tomorrow will be enough.
If you’re just starting on your journey back to fitness, worry less about what type of movement it is or how quickly the number on the scale changes. Start off by becoming a mover and moving how you enjoy to move, so it sticks…so it becomes a daily habit. Then, as you become a better mover, notice how the experience through your body improves. How your body starts to crave movement and movement-enhancing nutrition. How you pick up on the signals from your body to eat, rest, and exhale fully.
Watch what happens when you and your body act as a team now…working together…as allies not enemies.
4. As long as we have breath, it is not too late. Ode to that.
Dream big. Desire more.