Have you ever heard yourself or another saying?
- I feel so old!
- I can't run anymore, my knees are shot!
- I played ball in college and now that I am 30, I can't keep up on the court!
- It's all downhill after 40!
- My body is breaking down.
- I am a train wreck!
- Arthritis runs in my family.
Do any of these sound familiar?
People from 25 - 60 make these statements! Many are based on assumptions, myths, and limiting beliefs.
I too have had destructive programming...The beginning of my physiotherapy career started with an injury that ended my college athletic career.
I tore a ligament in my knee and had reconstructive surgery which ended my collegiate basketball season in my senior year -- basketball career ended.
I know now that going through that rehabilitation led me to apply and eventually becoming a physiotherapist.
Fast forward twenty-five years. I injured my knee for the third time and ended up in a surgeon's office.
They told me I would likely never be able to do the things I loved again.
No more skiing.
No more running.
No more paddleboarding.
Eventually, when things got too painful, I would likely need a knee replacement.
The stories in my head became very negative. Seem familiar?!?
"I am over forty now - this is as good as it gets."
"I will never be the same."
"I can't do the things I love anymore."
"What will I do to have fun?"
"I will get fat like my mother when she got sick."
As I recovered from the acute injury and started tentative steps, I realized I had a choice:
I could listen to the surgeon's advice and beliefs about my abilities.
Or I could choose to believe that I was in charge of my health and my path back to strength and vitality.
I chose to take charge of my health beliefs and journey.
Great start. Not so easy to put into practice.
Being a physiotherapist, I thought I knew it all. I thought I could do it all on my own.
Instead, I made progress and hit a plateau.
I was not getting better enough to be able to play the way I wanted to.
I finally accepted that I needed help. More importantly, I learned that what I believed about myself was the powerful missing ingredient to my success.
I discovered that, in order to improve my muscular strength and agility, I needed to improve my mindset and my beliefs.
I discovered I was capable of healing, that strength can improve at any age.
I discovered I could choose how I responded to a situation:
- I could see it as negative: "This is such a crappy time of life to injure my knee AGAIN."
- I could see it as a challenge: "What will it teach me to build my strength and balance from the ground up again?"
It was a long, hard, sweaty, tear-stained road and I was eventually able to return to the play that I loved.
I was back, better than ever before - stronger physically, mentally, emotionally and energetically.
This was also the start of my intentional growth journey.
The biggest shift for me was my belief in myself and my capability.
- I have learned that what we think we should feel is not predetermined.
- I have learned to embrace who, what, where, and when I am.
- I have learned I can change my belief about my abilities.
Two simple words. Oh so powerful.
I have learned that how you talk to yourself and what you choose to focus on matters.
In one of my favorite books, "Are You Up for the Challenge?", Rod Hairston teaches about the Four Laws of Focus:
- What you focus on, you find
- What you focus on seems real
- What you focus on grows
- What you focus on, you become
Where in your life have you settled or accepted someone else's ideas or beliefs about what you can do?
Which would you choose?
Did you know that every cell in your body turns over and is replaced by a new one? Over and over we regenerate every tissue in your body- even our brain! Even if a part of the brain is injured, other parts can take over!
These processes of renewal and adaptation are called neuroplasticity and bio-plasticity. These allow your amazing body to learn and change throughout your lifetime.
You can strengthen at any age and ward off age-related muscle loss, improve mobility, decrease bone loss, and even help combat depression and cognitive decline.
A 2011 study indicates strength training up to three to four times a week is recommended for people over 60.
Meaningful lifelong physical activity has a profound effect on your quality of life as you celebrate birthday after birthday.
People who live in communities with recorded longevity have similar characteristics:
- They play more often
- They eat together
- They have deep social networks
- They participate in regular physical activity
You get to choose what you believe about your abilities and you know your choices will continue to affirm your ever-expanding capabilities.
- You can see yourself as struggling to exercise or improving your endurance as you consistently train.
- You can blame your food choices on your lack of willpower or enlist a friend or loved one to help you make a meal plan and check in on you to ensure you are going in the right direction.
- You can say it is too hard to make new friends in your new community or get uncomfortable and possibly meet a kindred spirit at a book club or an exercise class.
- You can say you are too old to learn something new or you can learn the guitar at 50!
- You can blame your parents for your habit of biting your nails or ask yourself why you bite your nails and decide whether the habit still serves you.
Try these positive affirmations:I am strong.
I am capable.
I am vibrant.
I love my body and everything it does so elegantly.
The more you choose affirmative thoughts about yourself, the more you discover your strengths and change your perceptions of your "weaknesses".
Are you ready to make changes in your life? Start by joining Growth-U's community for accountability and support, and get ready to discover a new, stronger you.