I spent a good part of my middle years battling an eating disorder. I finally beat it by adopting the pursuit of health versus appearance.
So, I consider myself pretty self aware about maintaining my health as I age. I check all the boxes - exercise, a low cal, low carb, low fat, why bother eating diet. Proper zzzzzs, regular visits to the back, bone and bowel docs on speed dial. I use so much sunscreen the empty tubes could circle the sun 100 times. So, what, suddenly I am slacking off?
Lately, it seems every article about aging urges more cardio, more stretching, more weights, more, more more! If you slack off from a constant state of hypervigilance, you are fated to spend your older years in a decrepit huddle or face the onset of immediate decay.
Apparently, my daily exercise of a vigorous, occasionally (gasp) leisurely walk, light weight-lifting and stretching will not be enough to keep me mobile and upright. I need to clock 10,000 steps, spend hours at the gym pumping iron and be capable of bending into a pretzel while doing yoga in a room heated to the temperature of Death Valley. Uh, no.
I am not adverse to anyone who has the mind to exercise their ass off. It is an admirable pursuit and if that is what brings you joy, go for it. Just don’t try to guilt those of us who don’t care to spend our waking hours measuring miles, times, reps or gallons of sweat.
I am perfectly pleased with my daily routine and have no desire to up the ante. Sure, I know it is important on occasion to shake things up so I change terrains, routes and routines. Instead of heading to Starbucks post workout, I might head instead to Dunkin for a dunker.
So, don’t expect to see me any time soon at the starting gate of the next 10K. Maintaining my health is only part of my life. I need time on those walks to stop and smell the donuts.
Elizabeth is a writer and blogger at Midlife Eating Disorder, where she ponders healthy aging, binge eating and life.