Spring is here and I find myself like one of those buds on a tree just waiting to explode. I’ve got three years of pent up energy inside me, and baby – I’m about to let ‘er rip! In fact, I just busted up my hand in a kickboxing class (you shoulda seen the bag). It feels so good to be strong, and getting a bit stronger every day.
And you, my clients, range from couch potatoes to triathletes. It’s curious to me how many of you want to work on Health in our coaching program; when you complete the Whole Life Model, Health rises to the top.
Also, 25% of y’all are within the 48-52 year range. Transitioning to midlife is an opportunity to reflect and redirect with intention. (Just don’t call it a crisis.) And there’s such a range in these years; some of you are down on the floor with your toddlers while others are empty nesters. Some are contemplating starting new companies while others are planning retirement. There’s incredible vitality and variety in these years.
From observation (and experience), it seems like the 40s are when the body starts slowing down a bit – and we’re indignant about those changes, “Glasses? I’ve never needed GLASSES!” The 50s, meanwhile, can get tricky, perhaps greeting body change with quiet acceptance, even submission. Health becomes more tangible, as something we’ve perhaps taken for granted and now we want to work on.
I’d like to propose an approach to Health, with a bespoke conceptual cocktail I’ve created based on ideas from Girls on the Run*, The Spark Factor, Take Back the Game, Range and my own experience as an athlete, marathon runner, sideline parent, coach and post-surgery rehabber with chronic back issues.
I am not a professional athlete, nor will ever be one. In all likelihood, neither are you. And yet, as the years move forward, movement is KEY for our physical and mental health, most critically:
- Raising our heart rate
- Strengthening our muscles
MINDSET AND MASTERY
Here’s another interesting fact (courtesy of Range). And let me pose this to you in the form of a question. Who is more likely to be involved with their sport post-college, walk-on athletes or scholarship athletes? It’s the unpaid folk who have a greater likelihood to enjoy the game and continue to play it, not the paid “pros.”
I believe your likelihood to engage in a sport (or movement) is directly proportional to your enjoyment of it. I mean, just look at these nonogenarian dancers. Your attitude to your sport or movement matters. Mindset matters.
I’ve just received my credentials as a Girls on The Run* coach, and her are some relevant takeaways:
- GoTR is a socio-emotional organization with a running habit.
- GoTR don’t care how girls get over the finish line (all girls complete a 5K at the end). Walk, run, cartwheel, roll. In 18 years, all girls have completed the 5K they started.
- The goal is mastery of self. Improvement of self. Setting goals and increasing skills for yourself. This is a very different message from competing against others.
Interesting, right? The group supports the individual and vice versa, and you move your body. You have fun and celebrate your accomplishments.
How fun is your exercise routine? Are you giving yourself an opportunity to gain mastery and improve your skills? After my three years, I could not do my regular push-up routine. After one month of concerted effort, my reps are in the double digits again.
Though I generally recoil from the word biohacking (sounds like a rich Silicon Valley way to be bionic), I’m guilty as charged, having benefitted from IVF and birth control pills. Anyone enjoy a cup of coffee for a pick me up? Biohacker! And now, my neurodiverse family is enjoying evening fish oil supplements to care for their brains.
In The Spark Factor, Dr. Molly Maloof shares the concept of lifespan and healthspan. Though you can’t control your chronological age, you can absolutely play a role in your health as you age through exercise and monitoring your health (blood tests, wearables including my fave, the Oura ring, and more depthful monitoring with the support of a functional doc partner). As we know, what gets measured gets improved. She’s inspired me to try a little intermittent fasting to boost my metabolism and support my mitochondria. It’s giving me a notable energy increase.
MIX IT UP (AKA CROSS TRAIN)
I’ve also been supporting my daughter’s cheer team as an assistant coach. For those new to cheer (and that would include me), I’m shocked by the strength and flexibility that is required, and demonstrated by these small athletes. You try holding a friend up in the air by the bottom of their feet. It requires serious shoulder, bicep, chest strength, and thigh strength. These small girls sally all day long.
Then there’s something called a toe touch. You think you know what a toe touch is (and maybe you can do it) until you see it, cheer style. What the heck? Cheer toe touches require crazy core power and flexibility. Plus precision and timing (everything is done to the beat).
BRING IT TOGETHER
There it is again: strength, flexibility and (it goes without saying) heart rate is up. All required for health. Maybe for you it’s yoga, running and weight training. Or maybe it’s aerial yoga (stretch + strengthen) and walking your dogs in the hills. Or cycling, Kika stretch, and carrying groceries to your fourth floor apartment.
You’ve gotta move. You want to enjoy healthspan with your lifespan, yes? Then we agree on the big three: stretching, strengthening and boosting your heart rate. How you achieve your level of mastery is up to you.
Lots of love,
PS: I’m increasing my workshops and group coaching work. I’d love to learn more about your organization’s needs and together we can build a custom coaching / facilitation program to shift your culture.
*The thoughts expressed herein belong to me, Allison Task. I am not a spokesperson or representative for Girls on the Run and they will not be held accountable for my brilliance or humility.