What happens when you suboptimize anything in your life? Other areas of your life suffer. Maybe not to a major extent, but over time, degradation appears. If you spend two hours a day working out and ten hours of your life working to earn a living, how much time do you have for relationships, a spiritual life, personal development, etc?
You have limited your time for other parts of your life. I am not saying you should stop exercising two hours a day. I am saying that you should not ignore other important aspects of your life’s development, satisfaction, and happiness.
Maybe you don’t have a spiritual life – or, a relationship with family or friends. Is it necessary? I think so if you want true happiness in your life. You have been programmed to spend the majority of your day working for a paycheck. You are paid to occupy space and to be productive for a number of hours every day (at least five days a week).
Divide your life into three segments. The first segment is your growth segment – the phase of your life in which you are growing – this phase is the same for all areas. Allow me to establish boundaries so that everyone can visualize the same picture. This growth phase is from age zero through age 25. By that time you have grown from an infant to a mature adult – physically speaking.
You exercised unconsciously as a young child – running here and there – just having fun in life. In school, exercise might have been forced on you to an extent in a prescribed Physical Education program – or, you might have been involved in one or more sports programs. Even in early adulthood, there are residual physical activities that many people do – still hitting the gym, running, etc.
However, along with about the age of 25, many people begin to ‘slack off’ from their routines. Exercise is minimized to an extent – I’m talking about the greater population. Life has other priorities. Does physical activity comprise only one physical activity? Most people assume that physical activity must have something to do with sweating and cardio development. However, balance within physical activity includes more than just exercise.
You have heard the term, ‘work smarter, not harder.’ The same applies to physical activity. Your body changes with age – look around you, and you can see examples everywhere. Your physical activity program should adjust throughout your life in order to have a healthier life when you retire.
Exercise is only one program. Diet and nutrition are two others. Has your knowledge of diet and nutrition improved over the years? What about your knowledge of breathing, meditation, and stretching, etc? There are many aspects to overall physical health.
I define the next phase of your life as the range from 25 to 65 years of age. This is your primary working life. Life gets in the way of many things – marriage, kids, new jobs, new demands, travel, just to name a few. In the first phase, physical activity is generally on an upward trend or maintained at a high level overall.
In phase two, physical activity trends downward and then levels off at a lower level compared to phase one. Even exercising two hours a day every day from age 25 to 65 does not equate to ‘improved’ overall physical health. Biochemical systems operate differently, parts wear out, and stress begins to take a toll.
The third, and final phase is defined from age 65 to death – your retirement phase, so to speak. Statistically, if you make 70, you will make 80 years of age. Statistically, if you make 95, you will make 100 years of age. All of us want to be in good health in our retirement years. We don’t want to be a burden on others.
Compare the number of prescription medicines you were on at age 5, compared to age 25, compared to age 45, compared to age 65 and compared to age 85. Do you see a trend? If you were smarter, earlier in your life, could you have prepared your body, your overall health, so that you could eliminate the need for prescription meds; or, in the worst-case scenario, you might need only one or two?
Your final phase is generally visualized as a further declining trend line bottoming out with a flat line at the lowest level in your life. You just can’t get that much exercise with a walker or wheelchair. However, you could be maximizing your knowledge of geriatric nutrition and appropriate cardio, stretching, breathing and body-weight exercises.
Visualize your typical lifespan with the three distinct phases. There will be an upward trend in the first phase (age zero to 25) with a high level of activity compared to the final two phases. The second phase (age 25 to 65) is seen as a downward trend from the first phase and a leveling off at a lower level compared to the first phase.
Likewise, the same trend is seen in the third phase (age 65 to death) – downward and an overall lower level of physical activity. What if you knew this was going to happen to you in advance? Could you do something? The answer is, ‘of course!’
The plan for your life should include balance and an increasing smarter way of doing things with all aspects of your life. Little changes made today, this week, this month can have an effect on your retirement years. Think about it.