Exercise has a long list of health benefits. As you age, it’s important to identify what forms work best for you. Stress, work, responsibility, and injuries can all have an impact on how we feel. Sometimes burning through extra energy is what we need, but sometimes we need to rest and recover.
The first step to choosing what you need for your current routine is paying attention to your body’s signals. Do you feel tired or fatigued? Do you feel anxious or have pent-up energy? It’s also important not to compare how you respond to movement and exercise to anybody else. Everybody has their own make-up to account for. Seek out combinations that are right for you.
Expending energy is a bit more obvious and typically more in line with what current fitness trends offer. Working out hard, getting your heart rate up, and lifting heavier weights all have a high energy demand. A competitive game of basketball or tennis requires a lot of energy, so does running 10 miles. Activity choices that have a higher pace, have explosive components, or go on for long periods of time will typically tire you out.
Building and restoring energy has tremendous value. Walking is a great example as it stretches muscles, activates nerves, and stimulates blood flow. Simple mobility exercises also build energy. On days you are tired or feeling a notch off, gentle stretching helps keep your body on track. Light activities like golf, hiking, and yard work can keep you moving without overtaxing your system. Gentle activity will stimulate deeper breathing for your respiratory system, providing oxygen and decreasing stress.
A healthy routine will be comprised of both kinds of exercises. Working out to exhaustion every single time will catch up with you eventually (even if you could in your early 20’s!). There will be days to push yourself and days to rest or recover through supportive motion. Sometimes the changes will be subtle. Playing doubles tennis is different than singles. The beginner slopes on the ski mountain are a different demand, and experience, than the double diamonds. Working out with light weights for a week can greatly support you when you return to heavier weights.
Movement is an essential part of our existence that can’t be ignored. We must move everyday to maintain a baseline level of health. Tuning into what kind of support your body needs is a skill to be developed as we mature. Be flexible in your choices without judging yourself. Manipulate exercise variables, like intensity or duration, relative to where you are today. Being present and able to make the right call for yourself gives empowers a healthy and well rounded physical experience moving forward.