We live in a culture, here in America, where going to the gym seems to be a short sighted event. People want to workout to gain a six pack or a bikini ready body or to fit into a pair of pants. Not that any of these goals are inherently bad, if that’s motivation to move then good. But will pants or a bikini keep you returning to the gym for 30 plus years?
It takes deeper motivation, than the way your glutes look in pants or your bare abs look on a hot summer day, to keep you moving in a sustainable way. What is it though? What can hook you and guide you toward a longevity mindset with daily movement?
Jim Lewis, an OPEX Lancaster Fitness member for over two years, has been working out at gyms since he graduated college. Jim will tell you he was into sports in his college days. There was a behavior pattern set up for him, which he appreciated, and this pattern included daily fitness grade activities. When he graduated college he decided to keep up the rhythm of movement by joining a gym. Today, over three decades have passed and Jim is still intentionally working out a few times a week. “For me working out has always been a good stress reliever,” said Jim.
Maybe there’s more than the relief of stress to keep Jim committed to consistency, or maybe not? One solid intrinsic motivation for Jim seems to be his family’s culture.
Jim is a dad to three grown kids. All of whom have some level of appreciation for adventure on the field or off the field and beyond organized competition. Then there’s Dana, Jim’s wife, who recently joined OPEX Lancaster Fitness. Now they have a new level of connection around their individual workouts. Jim and Dana take their unique gym experiences beyond the gym and into fun things like golfing and hiking together. They plan on experiencing more adventures in the near future.
Then there’s Jim’s parents, who discovered intentional movement later on in their lives. Jim’s mom and dad went to a gym consistently for decades. They fitnessed every week well into their 80’s. “They went to the gym 3-4 times a week and that definitely added to their longevity,” said Jim. His dad lived to be 92 years old and Jim’s mom is 95 years old. Together, they were an example of lifestyle behavior for Jim and Dana to adopt as they now look ahead to their retirement years.
“When my working years wind down I want to do more active things together,” said Jim as he looks ahead at the life he and Dana envision living post-retirement. There’s a richness in this mentality, and it’s rooted in defining what you want your future to look like as a human who is physically created to move and explore. Sure one can exercise for physique modification. There is no doubt, the more you move with intention the more you’ll shape your body. There may even be systemic benefits like lower blood pressure, sustainable blood sugar levels or a lower resting heart rate. The more consistent daily movement you do will absolutely increase your ability to hinge with your hips, lift with a solid core, and balance like a ten year old on a skinny log in the forest.
There is a life of fullness and adventure to be lived beyond the made up age when popular culture tells us we’ve aged out. You can condition your mind and body to move you through the later years. Find the right coach, a gym that supports functional fitness behaviors combined with lifestyle modifications. Then commit to yourself that you are worth more than fabric on skin, and show up for the you who wants to explore and adventure into your 70’s or 80’s.
Jim has lived with a sustainable fitness mindset for over 30 years. So, what has hooked him into a longevity mindset for sustainable fitness? His motivation goes beyond looking good or feeling good, even though those are definite side effects of consistent movement. Jim’s value for fitness is a core value within him, and his family. There is a root system within Jim’s purpose to fitness that started a generation before him, and will continue beyond him.