Visualizing your future self will make you save more and may also help you adopt other healthy habits too.
When I returned from the Mount Rainer climb, it was clear that my body needed a break. Even with the use of custom orthotics, running on pavement every day took a toll on my knees. Surgery was inevitable if I didn’t change my routine.
One day I was flipping through fitness magazines at my favorite book store and saw the picture of an 80 year old speed walker. She looked fantastic – not fantastic for an 80 year old – fantastic enough to inspire me to try speed walking as a sport.
Speed walking is harder than you might think. I walk fast and have the potential to walk with better technique – but for what? I was still fantasizing about going to the Olympics but quickly realized after the first group walk that the Olympics were in my rearview mirror. However, the health benefits of walking were more interesting than racing. So I started walking on my own and discovered that I loved it.
It might be hard to believe especially for those addicted to the runner’s high, but walking is refreshing. Similar to yoga, it provides the opportunity to slow your mind down, tune into your breath and collect your thoughts. The big plus is that it doesn’t hurt your hips or knees.
My whole attitude towards fitness changed just from seeing that picture. It was no longer about feeling the burn, lifting my bottom, sculpting my abs but rather conditioning and preserving my body. Without ever really saying it, longevity became my goal.
Longevity for me is about having the energy and the mobility needed to enjoy every minute of life right up to the end. I’m often trying new workouts and activities but every week, I make sure my workouts include all the elements to maintain good health.
Workout for good health
1/ Cardio: Most days I start or end my day with a 60 minute walk which puts me over the recommended 150 minutes of moderate cardio per week [or 75 minutes of intense cardio]. Additional activities are just a bonus.
2/ Strength: On average I practice Pilates 3 times per week to meet the recommended 60 minutes of strength training per week. Pilates [aka: controlology] is my favorite for strength and flexibility. It’s very form focused which is likely why I’ve never been injured while doing it. Close seconds are Redcord, Barre, TRX and strength training. Mixing it up a bit never hurts if you invest enough time to learn the proper form.
3/ Flexibility: My pilates practice covers the recommended 20 minutes per week but my body usually needs more. Sitting definitely makes you feel stiff faster as you get older. So I do yoga once a week.
4/ Inner Peace: Yoga is another activity that I took up after Rainer to rebalance my body and life. I always leave class feeling supported and at peace with whatever is going on in life. There is no recommended minimum but there are studies now supporting the mental health benefits of yoga, Ti Chi and Qigong.
How do I know it works?
Find your inspiration
Unfortunately, I didn’t keep the picture that inspired me. However, there are so many good examples of people who have aged well.
Do a google search and pick an image that resonates with your vision for your future self. Let it inspire you to make the changes needed now so that you can enjoy every minute of your life until the very end. Who knows – you might become someone’s inspiration.
Stat: People who visualize their future, save 31% more than than those who don’t visualize.