By Nicole Basque, B.A., RMT
Spending any amount of time with children always reminds me of how fearless they are. They try things, they step outside of their comfort zones and they courageously endeavour new activities without the slightest hesitation. These tiny people take leaps of faith all the time and never seem to set limits on themselves (unless an adult has done so for them, but I digress).
As adults, we rarely act as children do. We often say “I can’t do this”, “I can’t do that” without even attempting to meet the challenge. We impose limits on ourselves and stay within the limits of our comfort zones because they are familiar. We follow a routine that is tested and true. We fear change.
I was recently made aware of how much we limit ourselves as adults. In June, I decided to train for the half-marathon that was scheduled in Toronto for October 2011. Each training day, progressively adding more distance and time, I felt surprised and satisfied. I kept thinking “Wow Nicole, you did that?! I didn’t think you could…” Even during the actual race, I was going through the motions, running alongside 22,000 people thinking, “Wow, I am really doing this!”
I clearly remember around the 16th kilometre saying to myself, “Ok Nicole, you are doing this; you are completing this task…why can’t you pay off your debt?” That’s when it hit me. I had been placing limits on my physical capabilities and those limits were, in turn, translating into other areas of my life. I realized that stepping out of my comfort zone as an adult is something that I need to do. Taking leaps of faith and trying new (and sometimes frightening) things is important for my growth as an adult. We often wrongfully equate advancement in age with limits. “Oh I’m too old for this” or “Oh I could do that when I was younger, but I’m old now,” are part of our vocabulary…but why? Shouldn’t getting older mean that we can do more things? That we are capable of trying everything we want to do?
Physical activity is an important medium through which we can achieve a new sense of self. Often, adults fear trying to start an exercise routine. “It’s too hard”, “I’ve never worked-out before”, “I hate the gym” are common excuses not to try a new activity. However, the benefits of daily exercise, both mental and physical, far outweigh the excuses.
Our bodies depend on regular exercise to stay healthy, as do our minds. Ailments such as osteoporosis can be prevented with weight-bearing activity (i.e. walking, hiking, biking, and even light weight-lifting exercise). Inflammatory diseases such as Fibromyalgia and Arthritis can be dampened and managed through movement (aqua-aerobics is a great no-impact activity for all ages). Heart disease can be prevented by regularly increasing our heartbeats and breaking a sweat for a minimum of 30 minutes a day (that’s less time than it takes most of us to commute to work!). Because exercise promotes blood flow, it also encourages a systematic cleanse that helps our bodies get rid of toxins. It helps our skin glow, our digestion improve (by increasing our metabolism), our muscle function, and our peace of mind.
Exercise comes in all forms as well. There are so many alternatives to the standard gym work-out. Take a fencing class, commit to a daily walk with a friend, try aqua-aerobics, or take a dance class, just to name a few. Don’t be afraid to push past your limits and see how strong and capable you are! I recommend starting with 30 minutes of physical activity 3 times a week. Keep an exercise journal to track which activities you do, and how long you spend doing them. Your success will be apparent and I am positive you will be pleased and surprised at how capable and how strong you are. As a result, you will feel better physically and mentally.
Enrich your life. Push past your limits. Instead of saying “I can’t”, say “I can” and “I will”. Go for it, act like a child!
Nicole Basque, B.A., RMT has been practicing massage therapy at The Pacific Wellness Institute since 2009. She received her Personal Trainer Certification in 2009 through CanFit Pro while studying Massage Therapy at The Canadian College of Massage and Hydrotherapy. Some of her favourite activities include running, spinning, yoga, weight training and playing the piano. To arrange your appointment for a therapeutic massage session with Nicole, please call us at 416-929-6958.