Do you think of yourself as an athlete? Maybe. Maybe not. You may be beyond your sports playing days or you never were into sports in the first place. Maybe you’re approaching or into your middle age years and you care about staying fit and taking care of your body. But an athlete? Naw.
Decades ago middle age was our 40s. Now middle age is our 50s or even our 60s. Advances in medical technology, healthier eating, nutrition and supplementation, and smarter fitness techniques have allowed us to live a few years longer on average and more importantly, feel better and have more energy later in life. Plus, we are motivated to take care of ourselves because we know that doing so reduces our risk of nasty diseases, injuries, and illnesses.
But what if you made a decision to raise your expectations? Instead of making small improvements in your fitness or simply keeping up with aging, or avoiding cancer or diabetes or arthritis, you decide to embrace your athlete archetype.
Athletes do cool stuff! How about rock climbing, roller blading, boxing, surfing, skiing/snow boarding, marathoning, or swimming to Alcatraz? Not into those things? How about travel, golf and tennis, hiking, birding, dancing, or gardening?
Athletes don’t just hang on and hope their bodies don’t fall apart. They take control of their fitness at the highest level. They work on their fitness for hours each day. They eat the most nutritious food. They are highly aware of what supplements, vitamins, and medicines they put in their bodies. They do their best to maintain a state of calm because reducing stress hormones is essential for high performance. They put a priority on great sleep. They surround themselves with the best trainers, nutritionists, and doctors. When they get injured, they focus on healing the injury so they can get back to their game.
YOUR INNER ATHLETE
What if you did this too? You’d be embracing the athlete within you. Your inner athlete insists on your well-being. You don’t have to spend five hours a day being an athlete. This is really about increasing your standards for your fitness. Could you improve by just 10%? How about 50%?
How do you do it? Small changes add up. Don’t miss your thirty minute daily workout. Make sure you do some form of strength exercise at least twice a week. Walk every day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Instead of eating mostly junk food, eat health food 80% of the time. Drink less alcohol, maybe two drinks a week instead of two a day. Improve your sitting and standing posture. Don’t slouch! Get interested in fitness. Study it. Learn how your body works.
By taking on even some of the attitudes and attributes of athletes, you’ll be so much better off. You’ll feel better. You’ll be able to do more. All because you’ve raised your expectations for what’s possible.
Drew – as a former college football player, this post is highly relatable. Being an athlete is a holistic mentality & approach towards your lifestyle.
Everything you do and every choice you make throughout your day is interrelated and affects how you feel and perform. You can’t just show up for a game on Saturday and perform well. You start preparing for game day on Sunday morning, and all of your decisions and activities over the course of the week affect your performance on game day. Similarly, being an “athlete” is way more than just the time each day you spend “working out.” It’s pre-hab and re-hab with stretching and foam rolling on either end of your workout. It’s your posture when you’re driving your car, sitting at your desk, and walking around. It’s getting enough quality sleep by eating the right foods in the evening, getting off social media and avoiding blue light screens before bed, and setting up the right sleep environment. (Good sleep habits also decrease junk food cravings during the day!) It’s mindful food & drink consumption – understanding how what you consume will make you feel, and making decisions accordingly based on what you need to consume in order to fuel your desired activities. It’s practicing proactive stress mitigation techniques (meditation, breathing exercises, reading, yoga…) All of these feed into each other. Living a healthy athletic lifestyle is a constant choice and a commitment. But the decisions you make form a self-reinforcing cycle either way… Anyone can be an athlete if they choose to be.