Today, I am challenging you to rethink your approach to exercise.

Because you must constantly challenge yourself and your belief systems to continue to improve.

The typical mindset regarding exercise is purely short-term, weeks or months. People usually hit the gym with a short-term goal of hitting a particular number on a scale or fitting into an old pair of jeans or running a 5K. But what is the real purpose of those goals? What is the bigger picture?

For many people, the goal is as simple as to be healthier. If that is your goal, any form of fitnessing can probably help you, whether it’s an elliptical or burpees. If that keeps you interested and exercising regularly, then good for you.

For most people, however, it’s a little more complicated, and short-term goals do not result in sustainability. Once the initial goal is accomplished, they don’t know what to do next. Or they just return to old ways. Instead of creating healthy habits, they jump from one random goal to another until they get frustrated or bored or both.

But what if you started thinking more in the long term? Across your lifespan? How many times have you even pictured yourself in the far future?

Of course it is easy to assume that you will be able to continue doing the things you love 20, 30, 40+ years down the road, but the reality is that may not be possible. Unless you specifically TRAIN to do so! At the least, training can help improve your robustness heading into older ages and make you more resilient to whatever life may throw your way.

As a physical therapy student who has worked with hundreds of elderly men and women, I can tell you that almost no one thinks that far into the future. They don’t think about being able to get up off the toilet or off the ground until they are no longer able to do so with ease. These are the simple things we all take for granted.

It really all boils down to one question:

What do you want to be able to do when you are 60, 70, 80+ years old?

A Few Classic Examples:

  • Bend down to pick things up off the floor with ease
  • Carry your groceries without needing to ask for assistance
  • Sit down and stand up from the toilet or a chair
  • Walk up stairs at a house to visit a friend
  • Maintain as much independence as possible

Believe it or not, those are attainable long-term goals. And they are achieved by training smart and purposefully.

Programming strength training exercises like squats, deadlifts, loaded carries, and Turkish Getups are great examples of ways to train your body to help you maintain movements that are needed to perform normal daily activities mentioned above.

Now it’s time to reflect on your current training approach. Are you training to be able to perform whatever activities you chose in response to the big question above?

OR….

Are you sacrificing your joints in compromising exercises for short-term gains? Or randomly performing exercises without a clear-cut purpose?

Are you ACTUALLY training for your future self?

It is possible to work towards short-term goals like dropping some weight or entering a marathon, while also working towards being able to do the things you want to years down the road, in the long-term.

Having strong bones, healthy joints, maintaining independence throughout your life, and being able to withstand whatever life throws your way with much more resiliency? Now THOSE are some #goals to get behind!

ACTION STEPS:

1. Determine what activities you would like to have the ability to do when you are 60, 70, 80+ years old.

2. Build strength in the muscles needed to perform those activities.

3. Create healthy joints; explore movement every single day.

4. Choose exercises in which the risk << the benefit. No compromising exercises for short-term gains.

5. Have purpose for every single exercise you perform; even if it’s just for sheer enjoyment 🙂

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