Fitness as a Tool for Longevity

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Fitness isn’t just about looking good right now, it’s about living a long time (and looking good while you’re doing it)! Use fitness as a tool for longevity!

“Move a muscle, change a thought.” That’s one of my favorite quotes from my mindfulness mentor and good friend, Ron. Until hearing this, I had never considered fitness to be anything more than a mechanical activity to achieve the kind of body I wanted.

My relationship with fitness—from my high school days of running track to my dabbling in yoga and weightlifting—had been primarily ego-driven.

I was working out because I wasn’t feeling good enough about myself. But reframing my relationship with fitness made all the difference.

When I was diagnosed with clinical depression years ago, I realized that one of the reasons I felt “stuck” was because, well, I WAS.

I spent long hours writing on the computer, sitting on the couch, driving in my car, and just not moving my body the way nature intended.

The danger in this, other than weight gain, joint issues, postural abnormalities, and assorted physical maladies is that when you’re not moving your body daily, it has an effect on your mood, your emotions, and your state of being.

Moving the energy in your body through walking, running, swimming, hiking, weightlifting, yoga, Pilates, biking, even light stretching, offers a number of benefits.

When you challenge your body, especially against the force of gravity, you maintain strong bone density and lean muscle mass, and you release mood-boosting endorphins and motivating hormones like testosterone.

Also, people who move their bodies daily (as evidenced by the research with centenarians in the Blue Zones) drastically increase their chances for longevity. Your relationship with fitness is also indicative of your relationship with other challenges in your life. Muhammad Ali used to say that he only started counting his reps when it started to hurt. Think about that for a second. In what areas of your life do you “tap out” when things start to get challenging? In what ways do you give up when things get too uncomfortable?

Having a consistent fitness regimen conditions not only your body but your overall consciousness. It creates a fundamental foundation of persistence, perseverance, and grit. Speaking of which, I think grit is an undervalued attribute.

Grit is the thing that pulls you out of a dark place when all seems hopeless.

Grit is the thing that shows up when you access those deeper parts of your innermost being that you didn’t know existed.

And willfully pushing your physical body to get stronger while challenging yourself to increase your stamina. Grit helps to create more patience, persistence, and determination in other areas of your life.

Finding the proper motivation and commitment is key to sticking with ANYTHING in life. Fitness is no exception. Back to my original point: when I was young, I was motivated by my looks and physical appearance, which wasn’t a sustainable motivation for me. Now, I’m motivated by my desire to FEEL positive, strong, confident, and peaceful: all of which a consistent fitness regimen supports me in cultivating.

So, when those mornings happen... you know... the mornings when your mind says, “Just stay in bed. Skip the gym. Just have a doughnut and check your texts.”

Those mornings are a golden opportunity.

They provide a golden opportunity for you to practice compassion for your thoughts and the part of yourself that wants to check out. And, they are an opportunity for you to anchor yourself in the commitment to what’s most important to you.

If you value feeling good, energized, positive, and achieving longevity, then you’ll make moving your body daily a priority.

It’s all about your system of values and whether or not your behaviors are supporting that value system.

More than anything, though, you’ve got to find a way to make fitness FUN. If you’re not naturally turned on by the idea of working out or moving your body, you need to experiment with different things until you find the pieces of the puzzle that work for you. It’s going to be different for everyone. Personally, I love workout mashups.

I love alternating with a high-intensity interval training routine (HIIT routine), throwing in some yoga another day, a couple of hikes per week and maybe chasing the cats or the dogs around the house. Oh, and putting on your favorite music and dancing like a sex machine is a great way to move the energy, let me tell ya!

No matter what you choose, choose to move every day. Just get your butt up off the couch, move your body, get some sunshine, and get out of the house. You’ll feel better and likely live longer as a result. Who’s gonna get the award for sexiest centenarian? You are!

Superhero Action Step!

  • Try a new exercise routine you’ve NEVER done before but you’ve been curious about. Maybe indoor rock climbing or taking your first yoga class.
  • Perhaps it’s going to your local gym and hiring a personal trainer to support your efforts. Maybe it’s going to an ecstatic dance class (which I highly recommend!)
  • Whatever it is, be adventurous, be courageous, and move your body in a way you’ve never done before. The change will do ya good... in SO many ways.

See More of Jason Wrobel's articles: How to Reinvent Your Relationships

Claims on this site have not been evaluated by the FDA. Information on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Sunwarrior’s awesome expert writers do not replace doctors and don’t always cite studies, so do your research, as is wise. Seek the advice of a medical professional before making any changes to your lifestyle or diet.

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