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Not Quite Like Riding a Bike

Filed Under: Men's Health at 12:04 pm | By: Susan Coyle, Senior Editor
BallerinaA Pepsi bottle dropped to the floor and began rolling carelessly away. I caught it with my left foot, knocked it over to my right and stabilized it with both before bending to pick it up. “Soccer player?” its owner asked as I handed it to him. “Used to be,” I replied.

Most of us have a “used to be” in our lives. We used to be soccer players, long-distance runners, ballet dancers and star quarterbacks, but time, other interests, injuries and life have drawn us away from those sports. We’ve resorted to exercising the old-fashioned way – whenever we can, in an unfulfilling, frenzied manner. Sometimes we catch ourselves pirouetting in the bathroom or enviously eying the high school football players; however, we write these moments off as fanciful trips down memory lane, trips that will never be relived. But maybe they should be.

The key to maintaining a workout routine is enjoying your exercise.  If that means running six miles a day or playing basketball every Tuesday and Thursday, then that’s what you should be doing.  Return to your adolescence’s activities. Re-embrace what you loved, but do so with a new mindset.

You are no longer 19, and you haven’t competed on the court for years. You have to be reasonable with your expectations. Even if you’ve been working out every day for the past decade, if you haven’t been participating in your selected sport, you won’t be as good at it as you once were. The only way to maintain running/rowing/dance skill is to continuously practice it  – something you haven’t been doing. So when you pick the sport back up, do so as a beginner. Start slow, rebuilding your strength and ability. Keep in mind your age and limitations. Rather than a game of two-on-two with your college-aged son and his friends, find an older group or league. And then, have fun. You’re returning to this so that you can attain happiness not perfection. Take it easy on yourself; enjoy it and remember that exercise doesn’t always equal torture. Sometimes, it’s actually enjoyable.

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