As a triathlete and former personal trainer, I am frequently asked if I lift weights. Despite my muscular and toned physique, I don’t adhere to a strength-training regimen year-round.
I have been working out consistently for 20 years and have built what is commonly referred to as “muscle maturity.” This is one of the many benefits of long-term exercise. Do you enjoy being fit but find it difficult to stick to an exercise program for more than a few weeks or months? Perhaps if you understood how important consistency is, it would motivate you to persevere.
One of the keys to long-term fitness and weight-loss is realizing that it’s a journey, not a destination. Here are just a few reasons why you should make exercise a lifestyle, not just a temporary goal:
- 1. Fitness takes time. It takes at least a month to make considerable gains in fitness, and unfortunately, those gains can be lost in just a couple of weeks. Creating the positive habit of working out is not going to happen overnight. Don’t focus on fitting into that smaller pair of jeans for your class reunion or looking decent in a swimsuit on your upcoming cruise. Instead, think of your fitness goals in the long-term.
- 2. You can truly sculpt your physique. My legs and glutes are more rounded and shapely than they ever were when I was in my 20s. This is because strength-training with weights and other resistance devices can truly change the shape of your body, particularly when coupled with the proper diet and cardio. This is even more important as you age, when gravity starts to show its damage.
- 3. Exercise benefits older and aging adults. Picture yourself as a fit 75-year-old as you make the decision to commit to regular exercise. Looking at the larger scope of things can help you to stay on the right track to being active consistently.
- 4. Do it even when you don’t want to. And don’t think twice about it. Make exercise a priority in your life by doing it on auto-pilot. Make it as necessary, as eating or sleeping. Set appointments to workout with yourself or others and keep them. Log your workouts. Pre-pay for appointments and other events such as 5k runs or your local tennis club. Buy new workout clothes and sneakers to get you motivated and as a reward to yourself for sticking to the plan.
By looking at some of the older fitness gurus in the industry such as Jane Fonda, Jack LaLane, Sylvester Stallone and Tosca Reno, it is clear that working out as you age is the key to looking good and preventing the signs of aging.
Staff Writer: Holly Lowe Jones