Fitness is Both Mental and Physical

Life is funny. Younger me never envisioned that I would begin a fitness program in my fifties. I had  this idea that working out was for the young. I was unsure about joining a gym for fear I would be the oldest one there or I would be told I was too old to start a weight program. These were real fears for me because I had always suffered from low self esteem and self confidence. I would get anxiety attacks just thinking about walking into a room full of younger bodies working out. Then realization dawned that fitness is both mental and physical.  I needed to get out of my own way.

But let me back up. I am not writing this post because I want you to join a gym, get a trainer, become a most wonderful physical specimen..although wouldn’t that be nice. No, this is about more than physical well being. It’s also about mental state. A combo of both if you will. Ok so I can only attest to me, my state of mind before and after I decided that I needed this. 

Mental Block, The Dreaded 50

I hit 50. Family gave me a little party. Lots of fun, drinks, merriment ensued. Great time. The next day…I was still 50. What is it about that number? It seems to freak everybody out. 5-0. Just a number. But all of a sudden I saw a different person looking back at me in the mirror. Obviously I didn’t change overnight, but in my mind I did. I blamed it all on that number…50. I was not so careful in the way I dressed. I had mom jeans. Yep, guilty. I had clothes that were way out of style but I didn’t seem to care. I didn’t bother going to get my hair done, at least not very often. And yeah, I let myself go. Sound familiar? 

Call it what you will…stuck in a rut, in limbo, Frumpville, whatever. I was there. I needed a kick in the butt. And around this time it seemed like the exercise craze was setting in. Standing in line at the grocery store I couldn’t help but be drawn to those fitness magazines with headlines like “This Could Be YOU!”or “10 Exercises to Flatten That Belly!” and the like. Did I think these amazing things could happen to me? Or course not..well maybe. Anyway, I bought the magazines.

Little by Little

I began reading all those shiny, glossy pages and did make a change in the way I was eating. Exercises came next, first from the ones mentioned in the magazines then I graduated to workout dvds and a treadmill. Fitness was my goal! This all happened gradually and I was  definitely not consistent but I kept at it. I did start noticing subtle changes however. In my mood, in the way my mom jeans fit, and in the mirror. And to my amazement I actually seemed to be enjoying exercising. Endorphins? I don’t know but I decided to step it up a notch and at least think about joining a gym. And this is where my insecurities took over. I don’t know how many times I picked up the phone to make inquiries as to joining a gym, to maybe start a fitness class, only to hang up right away. Again I realized fitness is both mental and physical.

Coming across a women’s only gym, I figured this was my best bet. So half my battle would be won, no men. There was still this irrational fear of being an old lady in a gym full of young women. It may seem ridiculous but this was a real issue for me. So I gave myself a little pep talk. This is something I have found really works for me. I list all the pros and cons of a situation and then go from there. Pros won out and I headed off to the gym to sign up before I lost my nerve. And imagine! There were ladies of all shapes, sizes and ages. Relief set in immediately.

My New Age

 Within the first few weeks I decided to get myself a personal trainer. Best thing ever. She gave me a fitness test to see where I was in my abilities and I was happy to see that I was in much better shape than I thought. I started working with her two days a week and she put me through the wringer. After an hour with her I felt muscles that I didn’t even know existed! I learned so much from her and learned so much about myself. I enjoyed working out with weights. Who knew? I felt better than ever both physically and mentally. I realized somewhat surprisingly that my chronological age was not such a bad thing because I had my new physical age. It was a much younger age, at least 10 years and thinking about that made me a happy camper. Yes fitness really was both mental and physical.

What I guess I am getting at here is that we are sometimes our own worst enemies. There are a lot of people out there who have these irrational fears or self doubts. I wish I wasn’t one of them but I am getting better. I would never have had the guts to start a blog and have others read it if I didn’t start believing in myself and listening to those around me who told  me yes you can. Getting in the right mindset if you are like me is not easy, but it is attainable. Starting to think positively is key. Not beating myself up over every little thing. Baby steps, just baby steps.

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