‘Enjoy your body now, because it’s all downhill from 30’ as the old wisdom goes. Your 20s are supposed to be the time when you can undertake all manner of physical activity without fear or repercussion. When you’re 22, your body can do anything; run a marathon, climb a mountain, walk up stairs with ease… it’s all possible with little effort or training. A 22-year-old can also eat what she likes with reckless abandon. Drinking? Sex? 30 pizzas? Who cares! They’re young! Their bodies can take it! They’ll brush it off in no time flat.
Treating your body like a trash heap is great when you’re 22, but come 30, and things start looking a little different. You take 1 step at a time on the stairs now, instead of 2. Drinking until the sun comes up no longer sounds worthwhile. Your back hurts. That late-night taco run (drive) now feels a lot worse in the morning and takes more effort to get out of bed. You’re starting to grow a belly. Running a few dozen meters leaves you out of breath.
That’s just life, right? That’s how it goes; you have an amazing body for around 30 years and then you’ll have to accept that you can’t do the things that you used to do. Circle of life and all that.
That’s old wisdom. Here’s something else.
Why accept that things will always be how they will be? Why accept that tacos and pizza, once dear friends, will now need to be kept at arm’s length? Why accept that ‘tired’ will become your new ‘normal’? Why live with being winded by the time you’re on the third floor?
When we see problems in other areas of our lives, we don’t let them stay as they are, we make them better. Crappy car? Get a better car. Relationship troubles? Talk it out (or walk away). Flooded basement? Well, you’re better off looking at these. Point is, in all of these areas, we make progress. We make things better and don’t let them sit - mostly. If we live in a crappy neighborhood, we move, but we’ll soon – if not already – live in a crappy body, yet we let it stay as it is and let it get even worse.
It needn’t be this way. That body that you had at 20 can be more or less the same body that you have at 40. The answer is one word, one syllable, and also a poor man’s Solo; lift. ‘Exercise’ works, too, but don’t get confused. I’m not talking about a treadmill, or yoga, or thirty minutes of stretching (which means I’m double not talking about yoga!). CrossFit doesn’t count, either. I’m talking about something good, honest, and natural; weightlifting.
Look better, feel better, and live longer. You needn’t take what you’re given. Take what you’ve got and make it better through the expenditure of energy and determination. You might say that you don’t have time, but you know what gets tedious and time consuming? Your body, slowly but surely, failing you over time. Forget that process! You’re in charge here!
Start lifting weights. You might feel clueless but you’re not. It’s instinctual. It’s innate. It’s built into you, like breathing. Need a few tips? There are lots of great websites and smartphone apps out there to help get you started, like BodyBuilding.com or Fitness Buddy. For more personalized guidance, ask your gym about sessions with a personal trainer.
Don’t settle for the ‘feel good now and feel bad later’ mentality like so many others have. You may be comfortable now, in a pre-thirty body, but once you hit that magic three-zero, comfort will become progressively harder to maintain as time goes on. Pleasure now for pain later is a pretty bad trade. Right this moment is ‘now’, but ‘later’ will soon become the new ‘now’ and all of your comfort-pleasure will be gone, replaced by a weary body, aching and praying for death.
On the other hand, you can hit the gym and trade a little pain for vast amounts of pleasure in so many parts of your life; better physique, better self-image and self-esteem, higher physical strength, higher pain tolerance, reduced rates of injury, and so much more.
Don’t take it lying down, because you’re the one who’s in charge of your own body. Gain the strength to hold back the sands of time, because no-one, no doctor and no nutritionist, is going to do it for you.