Fitness is freedom

Fitness is freedom.  I wonder how many of us have ever considered this sage bit of philosophizing.  I hadn’t.  As I whizzed down an aisle in our local supermarket a week or so ago, following the COVID arrows in the right direction in order to get to my intended target of the far end of the next aisle, I happened to glance over at the magazine section in passing and was stopped by this splash on one of the covers.

FitnessA

It caught my eye despite my focus on getting to my next item.  As a senior, I can’t tell you how strongly this phrase resonated with me.  We learn to accept increasing numbers of physical limitations, and we try to focus on the things we can do rather than the things we can no longer do.  BUT, and this is an important “but”, being (relatively) fit really does allow you to age more successfully than if you’ve given that up as a bad job.  Fitness really is freedom in your senior years.

Exercise1

Of course, this phrase that captivated me so much that I threw the magazine into my cart wasn’t aimed at seniors at all.  It turned out that it was on the cover of the March issue of Runner’s World, a magazine I had actually subscribed to for years in my days of thinking I could improve as a runner.  There was actually no real reason at all for that phrase to be on the cover that I could find.  There was no editorial to explain its presence.  There was no collection of articles that seemed to scream “Fitness is freedom”.  There was an article about running being a salvation for a remarkably talented young refugee, and one about aids for deaf people who want to run safely.  I suppose those might explain the cover. But for me it meant far more than those very specific examples.

FitnessB

If you’re fit, even modestly fit, you can just do so much more.  You feel better.  You have more energy.  You feel better about yourself.  This is true for all ages.  The definition of fitness can be different for different people at different times of their lives, with different levels of physical abilities, and different interests.  But getting off the sofa or out of your work chair and engaging in some kind of physical activity that works for you can make an enormous difference to your physical and mental well-being.

Exercise2

As I said, the expression “fitness is freedom” resonated strongly enough with me for me to have purchased a $9.99 (CDN) magazine that I didn’t really need.  I was attracted to that message as a senior. I believe that this phrase – fitness is freedom – should be a mantra for seniors.  Freedom to enjoy activities like swimming, golf, cycling and pickle ball.  Freedom to take a walk with a friend.  Freedom to be able to sway to music you’ve always loved.  Freedom to hold a grandchild or open a jar for yourself.  Freedom to make it through endless airports when travel reopens.  Freedom to climb stairs on your own.  Freedom to be independent for as long as possible.

Exercise3

Of course, fitness is important for all age groups.  For all sorts of reasons.  Always.  And it can make a significant difference as part of being in charge of your own aging process.  Choose the activities that work for you, ones that you enjoy.  And then be sure to work them into your weekly schedule.  In many parts of the world where people are in lockdown due to the never-ending pandemic, going out for outdoor exercise is the only thing being allowed.  Take advantage of that welcome exception. Feel the sense of freedom!!

Fitness is freedom

This entry was posted in Odds and Ends, Running and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

48 Responses to Fitness is freedom

  1. This is so true, great article, thank you.

  2. Sol Lowe says:

    What an awesome read! You might like my fitness tips on my blog!

  3. saree says:

    When body is tired; mind takes rest automatically. It’s the best part of fitness I’ve ever found.

  4. This is so true, I like your content title. We are all home now but there should no wall between me and fitness. It is freedom for us.

  5. pavneet kaur says:

    Fitness is freedom, so true 👍👌

  6. Pingback: Fitness is freedom (#reblog) | Senior Citizens Health and Fitness

  7. Pingback: Fitness is freedom (#reblog) – FIT IS A FEMINIST ISSUE

  8. somekindof50 says:

    Love this as a committed to fitness person! Reminds me of the saying ‘Those who wont make time for fitness will sooner or later have to make time for illness’

    • Jane Fritz says:

      What a great quote, Karen. And although illness will eventually hit us all in some way, shape or form, being fit is likely to postpone such inevitability, and will make recovery faster and more likely. Mostly, it just makes you feel better, both physically and mentally as you well know.

  9. Even a daily 30-minute walk and healthy foods can help attain fitness at a reasonable level!

  10. I agree ‘Fitness is Freedom’ and resonates more with me now than perhaps 30 years ago, when you’re young you think you’ll live forever lol, a time when your body can cope with tooo much energetic sex, tooo many naughty foods and alcohol!……… But at 55 I need my 8 hours sleep or I’m ‘blank!’

    You may have heard of Liverpool football club well back in the day they had a Manger called Bill Shankly, now sadly long gone many people in the UK could quote any number of his famous sayings, a coal miner, soldier in WW2 blessed and with common sense and a power of oratory only Politicians could dream of, he’s one of those people the world is a poorer place for his passing…………… A working class hardship and war experiences had forged a great man, sound morals etc, well one of his sayings “I want to die a healthy man” is simple yet profound and a quotation I think of all the time, we all wish to die healthy for so many reasons both State and family and lol I’ll leave it there. Andrew

    • Jane Fritz says:

      It sounds like you thoroughly enjoyed your 20s, AS! I love that saying, “I want to die a healthy man (or woman, in my case).” That’s really it, isn’t it. While you’re alive you want to feel alive, and be able to enjoy the life you have. Thx for sharing this insight.

  11. Roy McCarthy says:

    100%. The human body evolved to work best when under steady activity, it wasn’t designed for sedentary life. Many of our ills would be avoided through proper diet and regular exercise and we’d have a more enjoyable later life.

  12. bernieLynne says:

    Have you ever read the book “Younger Next Year” where the doctor and his patient talk about making changes that are sustainable and life changing as we age. It’s a good read and basically says the same thing your title does that Fitness is Freedom. Now if I could just get off the injury list (from working on my balance — oh lordie) so I could get back to my regular weight training and balance work. Oh and if it would quit snowing so I could go for a bike ride! Thanks for a great post.

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Thanks for the reading recommendation, Bernie. I hope you can be up and at ‘em very soon!

      • bernieLynne says:

        Oh I’m up and at it — just have to ice and stretch twice a day. No crazy long walks though as it gets tired easily. So annoying but so minor in the bigger picture. The book also comes in a female edition to take into account how our bodies change.

  13. Pingback: Fitness is freedom – Steven Halverson

  14. Dr. John Persico Jr. says:

    Jane, Great Blog. Fitness is one of my favorite subjects. You hit the nail right on the head. A wonderful Motto or Slogan. I will remember it well since it sums up my feelings about fitness 100 percent. Now if we could only get juniors and children to assimilate this concept in PE classes or elsewhere, it would turn the health industry upside down. BTW, Jane, I am still not getting notice of your blog postings.

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Thanks, John. Yes, we certainly agree. I think one positive from people’s pandemic-restricted lives for many is that they’re getting more exercise, since there’s very little else they’ve been able to do. Hopefully it will become habit-forming. The challenge with PE classes is that they often have the oppose effect, turning kids off being active. It gets wrapped up in who’s naturally good at sport and who isn’t, who’s popular and gets chosen for teams in class and who’s the last chosen, kids with body-image issues and/or other insecurities. It’s a fraught “subject”. If they could come up with alternate approaches where kids could learn activities that can be enjoyed for a lifetime, and be able to feel good about themselves, that would help. There’s SOME activity out there for everyone!

  15. I too couldn’t agree more with the sentiment, Jane. I watched my parents slowly begin to stop exercising as they reached their eighties, and I’m certain it added to both their mental and physical decline. Their worlds got smaller, and that’s the last thing anyone wants. So the “freedom” part of that expression rings true. With my getting the second shot, and my wife getting hers this coming week, I can’t wait to return to the gym! I haven’t set foot there in over a year now.

    BTW, I too subscribed to Runner’s World, but that was back in the seventies. I didn’t even know it was still in publication. 😉 – Marty

    • Jane Fritz says:

      You’ll be happy to get back to the gym, Marty. We’ve been blessed here in our little closed off corner, with borders closed not only with Maine but with our neighbouring province of Quebec. Our numbers have remained low (today FL records 271 avg daily cases/M and our province records 13 avg daily cases/M), and so our gyms have been open with strict COVID protocols. Being able to go to the gym for the past 8 months has been a huge bonus for my husband and me during this bizarre period of insularity. Have fun. Don’t overdo it too soon! 😏

  16. kegarland says:

    This is a great message. I know you’ve emphasized the importance for seniors, but I definitely agree it’s a great message for all. Without fitness, we’re pretty much immobile.

  17. Paulie says:

    Hello Jane,
    This piece really resonates for me in a few ways.

    >>>We learn to accept increasing numbers of physical limitations, and we try to focus on the things we can do rather than the things we can no longer do.<<<
    I think that this is what we, those of us who’ve led active lives, struggle with as we age. Hence my two MRIs on Monday 🙄.
    While I completely agree that fitness is freedom, sometimes I feel like the space of freedom is constantly shrinking – and indeed it is. It’s taken a long time for me to get used to not running every day, walking instead.

    That said fitness is indeed freedom. I think that keeping myself in relatively good shape has allowed me more freedom during vacations. While I’m no longer up for a ten mile hike into the woods, mostly for safety’s sake, I don’t feel relegated to a bus tour.

    In fact vacations are a prime example of the freedom of fitness for people of any age. I’ve seen people half my age struggle to walk up a few flights of stairs at some historic site

    I’ve definitely felt the difference in my overall vitality when I’ve allowed myself to lose fitness. It’s a physical malaise and once that hits it’s a hard road back; made harder as we get older.

    Runner’s World. I subscribed to it decades ago and gave up on it in short order. While I enjoyed running I never could buy into the notion of running as the universal elixir for everything. I was also a little suspicious of a magazine that seemed to tout a training philosophy in March and then tout the opposite two months later.

    That said, the shoe issue has always been great.

    Thank you for the post Jane. Hopefully people will take it to heart.

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Yes, Paulie, I tried to stay away from the frustrations of slowing down and learning to accept “new opportunities” such as walking or cycling in place of running. It’s a fact of life, but it sure is easier to come to terms with slowly down but still have energy and good health instead of the alternative. And I wouldn’t give up my memories of being able to run our trail system, not for anything. Even their memory brings me joy.

      My experience with Runner’s World was at the beginning feeling like I had found a treasure trove of advice to follow, then eventually realizing that it was pretty well the same thing every issue, and really writing for runners younger and faster than me. But I enjoyed feeling like I was part of the “club” for awhile. Thanks for your observations. I hope people take the message to heart as well.

  18. Inkplume says:

    Fitness is Freedom: that is probably the best marketing slogan I’ve ever heard for the fitness industry. Someone should jump on it because it’s not just a sales pitch. As you so eloquently point out in your post, that little phrase is so true !

  19. Totally agree, Jane. What a great mantra to keep in mind.

  20. So very true. Last year, on Independence Day, my husband and I decided to do what we could to improve our health. We completely changed our diet. I exercise faithfully on my exercise bike
    Forty-five minutes five or six days a week. Over the year I have lost 40 pounds and what a huge difference it has made with my mobility. Everything is easier—especially gardening, which I am breezing through this year. A great feeling!

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Holy mackerel, Laurie, that’s a phenomenal change. Bravo. Anyone who’s attempted such a profound life change knows that this is easier said than done. You are offering wonderful confirmation of the positive impact fitness can have on your ability to lead the life you want to lead. Thank you!

  21. dfolstad58 says:

    Well said, and liked the illustrations. My response when reading was nodding my head and smiling. Of course when I saw “pickleball” – it reminded me to “stay out of the kitchen” – which my wife dominates but as far as she is concerned her favorite cologne for me is dish soap, as in when my hands are in the sink washing dishes. I don’t mind, it’s fair trade for the home cooking. All these reminders of fitness are excellent when we have computers and big screen tv’s that attract us to sit on our derrieres for hours each day. Take care my friend. – David

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Glad to know that you’re staying fit with kitchen cleanup as well as with all those wonderful walks you post about in the glorious Okanagan Valley, David. Thanks and stay safe – and well.

  22. AMWatson207 says:

    I’d say the prompt you got from that Magazine’s graphic was money well spent. We can’t all do everything but we can all do something to move better. This Spring my thing is sit-ups. Without working my core my walking is compromised. Turns out those bones – and muscles – really ARE all connected.

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Anne-Marie, you are so right. That message has been front and center in my mind since I bought it, and for precisely the reasons you’re saying. Taking care so that we can continue to move (and not fall) is integral to happy and independent senior years.

  23. Reblogged this on Musings and Wonderings and commented:
    This is so right on the money! I endured a lack of fitness for some years but then gradually turned it around and now reap some of the benefits. It does take time and commitment but well worth it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.