There’s No Time Like the Present . . .
. . . unless you’re younger than 50. I was intrigued and somewhat relieved to come across a blog post from Blisstree.com called “Not Healthy Now? Don’t Worry, You Will Be in Your 50s”. I’ve been beating myself up lately because my work-out routine has taken a back seat to my travel schedule. I’ve been on the road for at least a day or more virtually every week over the past month of two. On the days when I’m home, I’m more focused on catching up on the laundry, grocery shopping or just having a quiet meal with the kids than on hitting the treadmill or swinging the kettlebells. Now, I can confidently stare down my upcoming birthday with the Blisstree article in hand! I have time, years even, to get my act together.
This by no means gives me a pass for a decadent or slothful past, but it does provide hope and alleviate guilt for those of us who have become trapped in day-to-day demands of trying to balance so much. However, the Blisstree article does speak to the somewhat ridiculous expectations we place for ourselves in this age of instant gratification. From crash diets to killer workouts, staying healthy has become something of an overnight expectation rather than a steady approach to life. We’re all about the 10-minute work out and eating on the run. I love to ride my bike, but regular, 30-mile scenic bike rides just aren’t in the cards at the moment (I did squeeze a 20-miler in last weekend, though). The healthy living routine can’t be a one-size fits all. It has to dovetail well into all our other commitments, but it also must be a priority.
By and large, my generation was raised on speed and technology. Fast food, TV dinners, microwaves, liquid meal replacements and energy bars all made it easier to fill our stomachs as we dashed from appointment to appointment. The car became an acceptable replacement for the kitchen table. For the most part, the virtues of organic food and sustainable living were unknown to us. While this has turned out to be a disadvantage for us, we have begun to turn this into a great gift for the generation we’re raising. When my son and daughter (18 and 15) grocery shop on their own, I’m shocked by the paradox sitting on the kitchen counter when I come home. I prepare myself for stacks of Hot Pockets, Nutella, Gushers and other snacks that I never buy for them. Shock hits when I see the other items in the bags. They’ve bought salad, celery, strawberries, bananas, non-fat Greek yogurt and grass-fed beef. The lettuce, strawberries and celery are organic; the bananas are not (hooray, they consulted the “Dirty Dozen” list I e-mailed to them!). Our kitchen counter tells the story of their generation, a generation which will be more apt to maintain healthy lifestyles in more sustainable ways. Even with the sugar and salt cravings of teenagers, they desire healthy and wholesome food, even when I’m not hovering over them. And their friends display similar, unteenlike behavior. As a teenager I would never have asked for the recycling bin, but it has become an expectation for this generation. I’m not saying that they won’t, and don’t, take advantage of their metabolism by eating late night fast-food or ice cream as the article details, but there is a quiet change happening that will hopefully be carried into adulthood.
While I struggle to fit healthy habits into my jam-packed lifestyle, I’m sure that when my kids reach their thirties and forties, it will be so embedded into their routines that they won’t have to look ahead to finally getting fit when they’re in their 50s. Living healthy won’t be a lofty idea but a basic necessity. It won’t require extra thought or motivation because it will have become so routinized. There will not simply be a decade of life when one is healthiest but rather an entire lifetime of low- maintenance healthy living.
At least, that’s my dream for the future and for my kids. In the meantime, I’d better wake up and get back to the treadmill, kettlebells and flax seed! There’s no time like the present.
Below are some habits I’m trying to adopt to manage my health while traveling. Maybe some of them will help you too.
1. Bring your reusable water bottle . . . everywhere. Yes, you have to empty it before you go through airport security, but then you’ll be able to keep it filled throughout your travels. You can stay hydrated without buying multiple $3 plastic water bottles.
2. Pack resistance cords with handles. When I’m stuck in a room when the gym is closed or don’t have time to get a proper workout in, I can use these cords to get a bit of movement in my hotel room.
3. Download one of the many yoga podcasts or videos onto your technology of choice. I’m fond of “Yoga for Runners” because it helps my crazy-tight hamstrings from triggering hip and lower back pain.
4. Always put your workout clothes in the bag. My workout stuff often returns from a trip largely unused. However, I’d feel far worse if I ended up with the time, desire and need to exercise but I didn’t have the means to do so.
5. Bring your own food for the plane. Even before airlines resorted to the boxed snacks for purchase onboard, airplane food was a low quality choice. I often bring a bag of almonds, some blueberries and an apple. These help to tide me over while I’m flying and often are a good snack when mealtime doesn’t line up that well with my meetings.
6. Invest in those silly eyeshades. You might look like Mortitia Adams or Eva Gabor (in her Green Acres days), but they can help you squeeze in some needed shut eye on an airplane or in an unfamiliar hotel room.
7. Check out Five Fingers from Vibram (similar available under different brand names from other manufacturers). If you can get over the looks from other gym rats, you’ll like the way these pack so much more easily than bulky running shoes. Build your miles up slowly, though, if you want to avoid straining your calves.
M'lou Arnett www.scerene.com