Health & Wellbeing

Making an event of it

Overweight man sitting on the couch drinking a beer

The Daily Express ran an interesting piece last week that will have caused pause for thought for anyone of a certain age… Running with the title ‘Have YOU hit the middle-aged health abyss? Brits in their 40s unfit and demotivated’, the article cited new research which reveals a middle-aged slump. Apparently 41 is the age when most of us give up when it comes to our health and exercise regimes. All good intentions go out of the window as we share a ‘what’s the point’ attitude and lose all motivation.

This research has surprised me as I’ve found the opposite to be true among friends, family and neighbours etc. The ones who’ve hit forty are easily identifiable – and not by their wrinkles. With the big 40 under their belts, these individuals are more visible in their high vis clothing, armed with a quiet air of determination and resolution. The men are out there in the Lycra trying to outdo each other with brand spanking new bikes and the women are all pounding the pavements, jogging and running every other night.

If anything, I’d say that the decade running from 40 to 49 fuels fitness for a great number of us - although this could be down to a mid-life crisis setting in. None of us relishes getting any older, nor do we want to make the leap from being young to being perceived as old. There’s a real feeling of ‘let’s cheat it while we still can’!

Whether being 41 signals that it’s time to give up or, indeed, time to take note, the Express’s article highlights an underlying phenomenon that I choose to refer to as ‘event fitness’. The vast majority of us, and I mean those of us who wouldn’t embrace fitness naturally for the fun of it, need some sort of event or milestone to kick start our self-improvement.

For some it comes in the run up to getting married, for others it’s all about going on holiday or getting ready for the Christmas party season and for others it’s about reaching a certain age in life when we feel we should maybe look after our health and well-being a bit more.

It would be great if we could shake ourselves out of the ‘event’ mindset and embrace fitness as a way of life, regardless of age or time of year. It plays such a crucial role in the overall quality of life and so we need to move away from adopting the all or nothing, on / off approach that so many of us do.

As mentioned in earlier posts, there are many reasons why we should stay fit and active, from addressing bad mental health or poor physicality to improving your general mood and lessening your chances of a series of critical and non-critical illnesses. Let’s make our fitness an ‘all year’ resolution instead of a New Year’s resolution when the clock chimes this year. It really doesn’t have to be an event.