Working Out and Aging: How Expectations and Reality Differ

When it comes to working out, I have spent the majority of my life giving in to the demands. When I was younger, I did it all. I got up and worked out early in the morning. I did my daily workouts without fail and I kept a pretty lean machine of a body. Now that I am carrying an extra forty pounds of “quit smoking weight” and trying to reclaim my workout regime of days gone by, I am figuring something out….

Things have changed for my body.

It has been ten years or so since I last worked out regularly and I am carrying the weight that I never had before. This is a whole new beast I am facing now that I have a few extra years and pounds.

I thought it would be easy and that losing this weight would be a piece of cake. In fact, I thought a whole lot of things that were not true. Here are five of the most obvious differences I have noticed:

Belief – I thought I would drop the weight quickly
Truth – My metabolism equals my couch time.

Losing weight used to be the easiest thing in the world for me. I could simply change my diet and I was able to lose whatever I wanted. In the odd situation where that didn’t work, a few days in the gym would take care of business. Now, I have to work out continuously to see the rewards. I can’t simply work out here and there like I used to.

Working out as you age becomes a cumulative thing rather than an immediate thing. You have to set a schedule, stick to it and make the changes to your diet to match. If you do both of these things, then results will follow. If I fall down on the job and go back to being a couch potato, my stomach shows it within days it seems.

If you are committed to your workout routine and losing some weight, or if you simply want to workout to get in better shape, understand it gets tougher as you age. You have far less leeway than you did as a youngster.

Belief – I thought that working out would be fun.
Truth – Working out hurts like nothing I have ever known…for now.

Don’t get me wrong…I love working out even now. The problem is that it hurts like crazy when I cheat or don’t do it properly. Age makes things much more difficult. Now, the technique has to be just so. If not, I strain something or feel pains in places I never knew existed.

If you do it right and stick to your schedule, you will get through the pain to the other side. Keep in mind, however, that the pain will return if you get lazy again. Stick with your workout and put it high on your priority list. Your health will thank you as you grow older.

Belief – I thought my workout buddies would rejoin me.
Truth – My workout buddies want no part of it.

When I was twenty-something I could find workout partners at the drop of a dime. All it took was a couple of phone calls and I had all the partners I could ever need. Usually, I would have several people join me on a trip to the gym.

These days the crickets are singing when I call on someone to go work out. Nobody calls back and nobody shows up at the gym. There are folks there that I can work out with and that is cool, but I would prefer to have someone that is not half my age watching me bounce my blubber around the workout stations.

I am not that large, but it feels that way when you are surrounded by bodybuilders and perfectly formed bodies. Mine is nothing to sneeze at but I have some added cushions that are not exactly wanted.

Where are all my friends at?

Belief – I thought doing the minimum would get me by.
Truth – Doing the minimum gets me nowhere.

As I mentioned above, I loved working out when I was younger. Even still, I would occasionally skip a workout or two. I could get by with it and even feel as though I never missed a beat. No weight would come my way and I would still be as “in shape” as I ever was.

Now, when I take shortcuts or try to do the minimum to get by, I feel it from my head to toes. Often, I actually see it in my stomach or cholesterol count. Working out is no longer something I can do only half way. If I do it halfway, then I get poor results in every measurable way. Now, I have to go at it full blast.

Belief – I thought I could work out at home and get it done.
Truth – I end up on the couch watching football and pro wrestling.

Finally, my workouts at home are not what they used to be. I used to trust myself to workout at home. Now, when I plan to do something at home or away from the gym, I find other things to do. Between distractions and family obligations, I can count on the fact that workouts will rarely happen.

DVDs, workout videos and various other workout machines that fit perfectly in my bedroom are all collecting dust. Working out as you get older is much better left for the gym or swimming pool. Go somewhere and you will be much less likely to lose your focus.

These are only a few things I have found to be true as I have aged. Workouts are a whole new thing now. Now, I am doing them to get healthy, lose weight and keep up with my kids. Back then I was doing it for appearance and performance in sports.

What changes have you noticed in workouts? Do you see a big difference from when you were younger?

Rodney Southern

About the Author

Rodney Southern

Southern is a twelve year veteran of the online writing world. Crafting articles about religion, parenting, relationships, sports and pretty much anything that can be researched, Southern has won several awards for his work. He won the Ultimate Call for Content Award in 2008 from among thousands of entrants and now writes for private clients and their online ventures.

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