Exercise, Travel and Anti-Aging

I recently returned home from Italy

I put in a long, hard fifteen months of work so It was a trip for rest and relaxation. We didn’t try to fit in lots of tourist attractions or tons of day-trips like we normally do. Most of our vacation consisted of sleeping, eating, exercising, walking along the beach and mingling with the locals.

I share many of my secrets to maintaining and even improving fitness while traveling in this blog.

So if you’ve seen some of my travel posts, you know that on my first day in another country, to shake off the jet lag, I get out of bed and go for a run. There’s a hilly run we do in Italy that’s always very difficult for me, especially with jet lag.

But, there was something different about my run this time.

Even on the first day of this trip, with jet lag, I found the same run we’d been doing for the last three years to be remarkably easier than I remember.

Despite the fact that I’m a year and a half older than I was when I last ran that route,

I improved.

In fact, I’m currently running faster than I have in my life (and I started running in college). How can that be possible? It’s not because I’m gifted or special. In fact running has always been, and continues to be, very challenging for me.

Here’s how I’m still improving:

1. I’ve been running a bit more. Not every day. Not even five days per week. But, I’ve started running on the treadmill to warm-up for my strength workouts which makes it  twenty to thirty minutes two to three times a week. Sometimes I do a long run on the weekend.

2. One or both of these shorter runs are interval workouts (like I explain here). Contrary to what you might think, I do not do intervals every time I run. Intervals are hard on the body, and it’s important to give plenty of recovery time in between. So less is more with interval workouts.

3. When I do long runs, I go with someone who runs faster than me. My guy is really good at distance running. When we run together, he runs at a leisurely pace while I pump my heart out!

4. I stretch on a regular basis to maintain my flexibility. When we exercise our muscles tighten. When we sit our muscles tighten. We need to stretch regularly to prevent the onset of tightness and inflexibility. Here are some of the stretches I do.

5. I do small muscle group exercises to support the larger ones. Specifically for running, I work my hips to support the proper movement of my knees. Here are some of the hip exercises I do.

As a result, even after having been injured a couple times this year and keeping patella-femoral syndrome at bay, I improved.

Mainstream thinking tells us that our bodies must decline as we get older.

It doesn’t need to be true.

In fact, we can get more fit with age

if we move and challenge our bodies regularly, and do it in a balanced and mindful way to prevent injury and fatigue. I’ve had clients in their 50s, 60s, and 70s tell me that they can now physically do things they didn’t dream of doing when they were in high school!  As for my clients in their 80s, they’ve reversed the clock by at least ten years, sometimes more.

Does this motivate you?

It motivates me. In fact, I’ve seen and learned so much in my career about how exercise plays a crucial role in staying young, vibrant and physically competent, I can’t stop doing it.

What motivates you to exercise?

Let me know about it in the comments below.