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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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