Yesterday, discussion in my Facebook 40+ Female Fitness group got me thinking about how my exercise goals and reasons for exercising have changed over the years.
A lot. 360 degrees. We’re talking sea change here. Yet despite the evolution of my goals, I always managed to prioritize physical activity of one sort or another.
In my teens, I exercised to be thin.
Thin girls were popular girls. Thin girls got invited to parties. Thin girls got picked for the cheerleading squad and dated the quarterback. Although I WAS thin (and a cheerleader), I was also smart. And since smart cancels out thin when you’re a teenager (at least it used to), I didn’t reap the benefits of exercise that I so desired. (But I did get into a great university; not all of the popular girls could say that 😉 ). Clearly, ‘health’ was not on my teen-age radar, as cafeteria muffins and diet coke were all I ate for days at a time.
In my 20’s, I exercised to socialize and release stress.
While the 12 years I spent at university were incredible, they were also a time of loneliness, doubt and sleep-stealing work. Exercise was time away from studying and writing and worrying about what the future would hold. It was also a great way to make new friends. My hubby and I met over our mutual love of squash (the game, not the vegetable); there’s nothing like a squash court for getting up close and personal 😉
In my 30’s, I exercised to get my pre-baby body back.
Three babies in 5 years left me feeling soft and gushy and I can’t lie, I was all about the six pack, buns of steel and becoming a ‘yummy mummy’. Group exercise classes were a great way to get back in shape, while simultaneously stealing a little time away from my busy, growing family. I began to think about exercise and clean eating as a way to remain healthy, though; being responsible for the nutrition of little ones makes eating a whole new experience.
In my 40’s, I exercise for myself.
To feel strong and confident. To be healthy. To improve my sleep. And to be a good role model for my children. Although my workouts are less frequent and less intense than they were even 5 years ago, I’m at a healthy weight for my height and have developed muscles in all the places I yearned for a decade ago. Heck, I even modelled for a fitness photo shoot at 46-years of age! Something I would never have had the confidence to do in my 20’s or 30’s.
I wonder how my exercise goals will change once I reach 50? I guess you’ll have to stick around another 3 1/2 years to find out!
Have you experienced a change in your exercise goals with age?
Are you finding it more or less difficult to reach those goals now, then when you were younger?
What’s your number one reason for exercising?