Eighteen months ago, I would have described myself as active and fit. I used to cycle around 150 miles per week, took part in Parkrun’s, played golf and used the gym. My weight was rather good, even if I still enjoyed my sweet treats. But then something happened. I picked up a few injuries that I couldn’t shake off. I started doing less and less exercise and just played golf. At first, I didn’t notice much difference with my mental wellbeing, shape, or weight. But over time it has had a detrimental impact.
Over that time, I’ve put on 3 stone in weight, my sleep is disturbed, I have lower energy levels and feel those aches in my lower back. In myself I knew I needed pick up the baton and exercise, including my first love, cycling. However, when you are stuck in a rut finding the motivation is difficult. It’s much easier to say I am busy, I am tired, I need to do this or that. All to put off something that once started, you enjoy. Quite bizarre when you think about it.
So, what was the trigger waking me from my malaise? Interestingly, it was something we at TheBoldAge are working on. We have started developing a platform called the Circle of Life. The aim of this digital tool is to help improve, manage and track your progress, in developing a more optimised life balance. Just working on the platform made me sit up and take notice.
Having decided to get off my behind, I want to share my journey. Hopefully, writing it will keep me on the straight and narrow and help others in the same situation. From my own experience, I know it’s not easy to restart, being active in a way that works for you is important for our mental and physical wellbeing. Age should be no barrier; we are never too old to start.
I am certainly no angel. Over the past few weeks, I have procrastinated and cogitated until the cows come home. Always finding some lame, albeit in my head, plausible excuse, but who was I kidding? Only me.
So, grabbing the ‘bull by horns’ I finally got off my butt and did something about it. But how did I start? Yes, I could go to the gym, go for a slow jog or get on my bike. However, given what led to my current situation, I didn’t want to go off half-cocked and do some damage which would put me back to square one. With that in mind I decided to put things off for a few more days whilst I did some research as to how to get started.
What did I learn?
It would be too grandiose of me to suggest I started with setting some clear and achievable goals. However, having bypassed this, I realised it was critical to progress. For me though I needed to make these initial goals achievable, nothing outlandish – that can come later. Second, I needed to build in the steps for achieving these goals. Steps are a metaphor for incremental movement forwards, and once you are putting one foot in front of the other you can go for miles, without even realising. Sage advice, from others I might add, is to have an exercise buddy. That said I prefer doing things alone; it gives me valuable thinking time. However, I can see that for many of us, there are real advantages in a buddy. They add a valuable layer of encouragement, persuasion and downright obstinacy. Plus, it’ s great to have company and share the gains and some would say the pains. Once I get back to a reasonable level of fitness, I can persuade somebody to be my Parkrun buddy. A couple of other learning points from these first few weeks are: Try to get better sleep, take a good look at your nutrition. On this latter point, I am no saint as people know. However, improving the balance of what you eat is key. Something I will talk more of in another article. Lastly and most probably for me the most important piece was to improve my flexibility, stretch those inactive muscles and build a low, but all-important base level of strength. Something Steve Foreman our fitness expert will build upon in the coming weeks.
Making this Journey Real
Now here comes the reality check, I want this journey to be real, so I do need to be honest about my journey. That means describing the now and where do I want to get to, initially and by when. So here is the now, my weight is 15.5 stones or for those that have made the conversion 98.4kg. My sleep is disturbed, I wake up at least twice most nights. My lower back aches, and I sit in front of my laptop for long parts of the day. That said, I do play golf a few times a week, a quick 9 holes before work, and 18 holes on the weekend. I have been working on flexibility and stretching for the past few weeks and wow that was and remains eye-opening. Just like my old school reports used to say, requires much improvement. Plus, I have just signed up to Steve’s gym, taking advantage of his off-peak membership. Now for the ‘grit’ my initial goals: By the beginning of March 2024, I need to start Parkrunning, and be up on my road bikes and doing a minimum of 30 miles per week. My weight should be between 13.5 and 14 stone. Hopefully towards the lower end. Lastly, I need to have decided what my follow-on goals are by the middle of February.
What comes next?
Now the journey really starts and over the coming weeks I will take you through my Circle of Life process – explain the important components of what balance means to me and the steps within those components or dimensions that will help me achieve my initial goals. Like tracking a package on our phones, I will update weekly on my learnings and progress and any adjustments to the ‘tiller’.
Why not come along for the ride and start your initial journey, I would love to hear your experiences along the way. As always Boldies, remember we are, not we were.