As a qualified exercise instructor, I have been teaching exercise to people of all ages for nearly twenty years, especially older adults, and there are some common questions I am asked when it comes to exercise - the first question being: Why should I exercise?
Having a small figure for most of my life, I didn’t think I needed to exercise but one day I realised that I was not fit and had no strength. I may have looked okay on the outside, but my body needed more support from the inside, and I knew that through exercise, I would be able to develop a deeper connection with my body. I decided to make a commitment to exercise, to go to weekly classes and to practice on my own as well.
The connective tissue is our body’s foundational tissue. As a baby we are all connective tissue that then specialises into brain, bone, muscle and organs etc. The Connective tissue also makes up a network of tissue that supports every part of the body from the tiniest cell to the largest organ or muscle. In the structural system of connective tissue it is like a fine, flexible and strong web that holds everything in place, keeping everything connected and providing nutrients to each part of the body.
‘No pain, no gain', ‘go harder, go faster, do more’. How many times have I heard this mantra when I have reluctantly attended exercise classes or even more so, the one time I enrolled in a Gym program. When I looked at the people in the classes, (instead of concentrating of doing more, going faster) I often wondered what their motivation was to put their body through so much pain and stress.
When I was younger, in my thirties, I was training hard going to the gym and learning to become an aerobic instructor. My body was strong and fit and it was hard, which I thought was a good thing. I could not feel the numbness and pain in my body from the exercise and I did not relate my lower back pain with exercising too hard.
How do we feel about exercise? I am twelve years old and playing a game of tennis with my mother. I was winning and it did not feel good to be beating my mother, so I changed my game with this discomforting thought. Losing didn’t feel great either; it felt like I wasn’t being true to myself. It may have been on this day that I decided that competitive sport was not for me.
I have been exercising in a different way recently which has been life changing and very supportive for my body. In the past, through my working life, I realised I needed to exercise: I could feel I was losing strength and tone as I was ageing. I’ve always been active during my day, and I used to think that was enough. Not coincidently, when a new gym opened locally and had a special offer I joined it!