Not everything in life is a “given.” We can never say with complete certainty that we’ll be in the same job, relationship, home, or state of health, as we are right now. Life is fraught with change — both wanted and unwanted, good and bad.
This is especially true for those of us who are being squeezed into that sandwich between children, aging parents, and everything else that life has to offer.
After turning 50 a few years ago, I came to understand–and believe in–a few fundamental truths, which have helped simplify my thinking, and my approach to positive living.
One of them is this: all roads lead to fitness. Here’s why: If we don’t take care of our bodies, minds and spirits as we age, we won’t have the strength and stamina to do everything we have to do, and want to do. It’s a simple concept that motivates me to keep on my own road to fitness, every day. These three parts of our whole are intricately intertwined: when we exercise (body), we’re also doing something that research shows benefits our brain cells (mind), and reports (both scientific and anecdotal) confirm that moving your body makes you feel good and better about yourself (spirit). If you feel fit and good about your overall wellbeing (including how you look, another positive benefit of exercising), you’ll be much more inclined to pursue opportunities and confront challenges. One positive dot connects to another.
But at the very heart of my overall fitness program is one exercise that truly does it all. The Plank tones and strengthens every part of the body: legs, back, arms, shoulders, abdomen, hips, butt. It’s the one thing I do every single day, even if I have no time to do anything else. Take a look at this short video, demonstrating the two basic ways to do the Plank correctly, so it really works:
But why should you do the Plank every day? Here are the top 5 reasons:
- You can do it anywhere, anytime, and it’s free— There’s no need to go to a gym or trainer to do this move. Just get down on a rug or yoga mat and try to hold the correct pose (see video) for 60 seconds or more. If you can, take a 10 second break and do it again. Aim for three sets (preferably combined with 20 push-ups and 20 squats).
- It helps fight osteoporosis–According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, 9 million American adults have osteoporosis and over 48 million more have low bone mass, placing them at risk for osteoporosis and broken bones. But, you don’t always know you have this disease until you break something. Take control and do this exercise to build better bones.
- It works better than sit-ups and crunches to strengthen your core: I gave up doing sit-ups and crunches when I added the Plank to my daily program. If done properly, every part of your body is held tight and taut (like a plank), engaging the core like no other exercise.
- You’ll see definition in your arms you never thought you’d see again–After 50, our arms can often look a bit flabby, and for sure they will lose strength if we don’t work them out. By doing the Plank every day, especially if you push yourself to hold the pose for over 60 seconds at a time, you’ll see noticeable changes in the look and tone of your arms.
- It’s a form of meditation–The Plank can put you into an incredible mindful Zen-like state because you’re holding everything tight and still . . . while breathing deeply . . . for 60 seconds or more.
Stay in touch and let me know how you’re doing! Until next time, remember this:
We can’t control getting older . . . but . . . we can control how we do it!