My 5-foot-ten-inch frame always appeared more naturally built for yoga basketball or cross-country, but 30 years after that horrible gym class in high school, I’ve found a sport that is just perfect for me at this particular stage in life.
Ladies, suffice to say that I’m keeping my job, but rowing is a sport that surprised me and gave me a new perspective on “health.”
I decided that it was high time I reinvented my life, together with health, so that I could have both weight management and fun! Essentially, I needed to reprogram how I would fit health into my life. Considering the fact that I myself am a wellness coach, I know that health is much more than what the doctor says.
It wasn’t just the yearning to lose weight and fit into my skinny jeans, but that was the driving force. One is still young enough at age fifty to make some changes that can improve one’s life quality in later years.
As I approach the age 50, I realize that my underlying need for the physical competition was developing like a storm teapot and that the marketing consultancy’s creative demands needed not only sleep to really flourish. Not only did I want to lose 20 pounds, but it was equally important that I recover a sense of vigor and an ongoing interest in being more physically active.
Does that sound like you? Are you interested in gaining more energy and vitality? Do you have any doubt that those diet pills or the new workout plan or vegan meal-plan will make anything different? Do you view yourself as your past high school adulthood equivalent? Is the image of your poor body still prevalent?
I made the decision to confront this in myself, which became the start of a journey more focused on health that linked me up with authors such as Eckhart Tolle, Christiane Northrup, and Nora Ephron. (As a matter of fact, the keen interest I had in becoming physically fit led me to take up a career as a certified wellness coach.)
Actually, through a discovery, action and relaxation process, I found the motivation and the leeway to start a new heart-to-heart with myself. Meaning I stopped the old habit of talking to myself and started the journey as an innocent child.
To help you try the same process, here’s how I reinvented wellness in my life:
It was on a learn-to-row vacation my husband and I took that I discovered where the renowned center for skiing and rowing began 50 years ago. I believed it’d be an excellent opportunity to spend some quality time with my husband, who also enjoyed rowing and had been doing it for over 30 years.
Because the best athletes also use this center for training, I tone down my expectancy in regards to what I’d achieve after weeks there. And, because I decided to be open-minded, I was very relaxed and learned a lot more than I would if I had pushed myself into “being the best.”
After the vacation, when I got home, I immediately searched for means to keep up my motivation by making use of sport to get into shape. Meaning I have to lose weight and gain muscle mass. First, I joined a spin class where I lost 30 pounds, getting into better cardiovascular shape.
Also, I decided to register at a local rowing club, and within three months of my vacation, I started a learn-to-row program. And, I also got to row with other local women – many above 40 – who practiced 2-4 each morning every week on the Norwalk River and still are.
I mostly rowed in a “quad” that is four women rowing together – each having two oars. Because of my long arms, our coach often asks me to take the first seat, which is the stroke seat. Being in the lead is fun, but it also means there isn’t any one to follow! Every other rower follows the stroke so you must be well focused and relaxed.
I don’t think you can understand the importance of recovery in our lives today except you start rowing. Recovery from rowing permits your body to loosen up, and the boat “runs” effortlessly underneath you. Of course, it all depends on your rowing ability.
However, my 20 years of yoga practice has proven to be useful, because to get along well with rowing, you have to find a balance between “drive” and “recovery”.
These two counterparts work well for me because I make use of yoga breathing for recovery, and I realize that this breathing procedure simply cuts down the stress I’m feeling in my body. Even better, exercise has been recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine as an evidence-based stress reduction!
Skinny jeans aside, for me there’s a lot more to health today.
P.S. For the past two years now, I have maintained approximately a 20 pounds weight loss. It’s still a process where every day I discover new ways to make gradual changes that with time make a difference!
P.S.S. The most significant benefit of all is making new friends!
With Gratitude and Love