As a fitness coach and recreational athlete I had gotten used to the mindset that I always needed more. I always needed to push harder. I could always be better. Now, approaching 52, I wish I had handled this differently. I competed in triathlons, Spartan races, road races, fitness challenges. I pushed my body in 15 mile trail runs and kind of became an activity junkie.
Why? Because it felt good. How does it feel now? Not as good.
This is my own fault. I pushed through pain and injuries. I definitely knew better but I made my choices based on what I wanted at the time. If I could go back knowing what I know now, I wouldn’t change the intensity or the events I competed in. I’m proud of them and feel accomplished. What I would do is take better care of my body as a whole.
Proper nutrition on race day was often an afterthought. I relied on my “youth”, stubbornness and endurance to get through long events. I cringe now when I think of the inflammation growing inside me as I neglected to nourish myself properly.
I also slacked on restorative practices. I did work some yoga in eventually but for years I didn’t even do that. Currently I do a restorative practice of some kind almost daily. I don’t know why I waited, it feels incredible and it helps your body perform better.
I neglected the mind body connection for the most part as well. I have always understood visualizing and the importance of breathing but I did not embrace meditation until recently.
I just couldn’t grasp it for years and I think that is mainly because I didn’t feel comfortable sitting still and being in my own space. It is definitely tough at first but once you can settle in and commit to a daily practice it is life changing.
You have to be ready to accept things into your life for them to work for you. I’m sure all of these healthy habits I neglected were thrown in my face multiple times but I just wasn’t in the right headspace to incorporate them into my life yet. I slowly became ready over the past few years.
I write this in hope of influencing anybody who is like minded. I invite anybody who feels they need more physically or mentally to try to work some of these gentle practices into their daily routine. If you aren’t ready, you’ll know. And if you are you will likely slowly embrace these practices and more. Your mind and body will be clearer, lighter. You will begin to crave that blissful feeling that comes when you allow your body to be nourished and relax. You’ll look back, as I am now, and wonder how you did things without your new habits.
I hope you figure it out sooner than I did, so you can enjoy your journey to the fullest. It is all about the balance.