How many times have you heard that phrase uttered over your lifetime? “It’s Never too Late” can be applied to almost every aspect of our lives. It’s Never too Late to learn a new hobby. It’s Never too Late to get your degree. It’s Never too Late to find your soul mate. What got me to thinking this phrase this week is 100-year-old Ida Keeling. Ms. Keeling broke the World’s Record for the 100-Yard Dash in the 80 years and older group. Let’s let that sink in a moment, shall we? …. Not only did Ms. Keeling break the record at 100 years of age, but also there is an 80 Years Old and Up age bracket in sporting events!?!
Ms. Keeling’s story is truly inspirational. In an interview with CBS Philly, Shelly Keeling (Ida’s daughter) said that following the murder of her 2 brothers her mother was declining quickly. Shelly made the decision one morning to take her mother with her to exercise. Ms. Keeling was 67 years old when she competed in her first 5K race. Prior to that, she had never run.
And yet, here she is 33 years later breaking records, and doing push ups to celebrate!
When asked what the secret to her good health was, Ms. Keeling offered sage words of advice. “Eat for nutrition, not for taste.” And “Do what you need to do, not what you want to do, and make sure you exercise at least once every day.” Her statement about nutrition rang a bell with me. Several years ago we took my father-in-law to see a nutritionist. He said something, which has stuck with me since that meeting. “If it tastes good, spit it out. More than likely it isn’t good for you.” The good doctor explained most of the processed foods consumed by Americans today contain the addictive combination of salts & sugars & fats. He recommended filling our plates with a rainbow of colors from fresh vegetables, fruits, and lean meats.
Ms. Keeling’s advice to “Do what you need to do, not what you want to do, and make sure you exercise at least once every day.” actually struck home. How often do you find yourself down bunny trails? For me it’s researching and staying abreast of the latest health data (my work), my children’s extra-curricular activities, volunteering, and the list could go on. Do you too find yourself repeatedly justifying that it is a good day? But is it a good day if we didn’t do what we needed to do to keep ourselves healthy? Is it good, if we miss multiple workouts because we are prioritizing other action items over daily exercise? Is it good, if we find ourselves purchasing processed, convenient, foods because we haven’t made the time to eat for nutrition? We won’t be able to help anyone if we allow ourselves to be run down, or to become ill, as the result of poor nutrition and lack of exercise.
I do have enough humility to admit, my intrinsic motivation is lacking at times. I too struggle with daily life distracting me from my health & wellness goals. I have found it is at these times when I need to invoke extrinsic motivation tactics. Registering for a race; starting up a training group in the neighborhood; creating a FaceBook group for dietary support; deciding my children need more outdoor time and leading by example; are all activities I have used to redirect refocus my daily health & wellness goals. You may be surprised at how many people are struggling with the same issues. By starting or joining a group, you’ll not only be helping yourself but others too. Having a community to support and encourage you through the daily struggles can make a big difference in your success to stay committed. The exciting thing is so many activities can be implemented at any age! As Ms. Keeling showed us this week, It is Never too Late to get back on course and grow strong again.
Consult a physician prior to starting any new exercise routine.