Thursday, 15 August 2019

Staying Strong

Like many (or most?) middle-of-the-pack runners, I suck at doing strength training. Or, while we're being honest, let's just call a spade a spade: I'm too lazy to do proper strength training. There. I said it. Sure, I do a few air squats here and clamshells there in order to strengthen my glutes and improve my running form. But am I consistently immersing myself in real, honest-to-goodness whole-body strength training? Nope. I'd rather run (for the hills).

It hasn't always been that way, though. Back in my late teens and up to my early thirties, having a gym membership was high up on my priority list, and with that came unlimited access to boot camp classes galore. I loved doing those and, once or twice a week, I'd squat, grunt, crawl and lunge my way to an endorphin high with either my dad or bestie by my side. We loved suffering through those torture sessions together, and while we admittedly spent the majority of our days battling delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), we were fit, strong and ready for anything.


Circa 2004-ish, with my bestie, Tanya, before one of our pre-dawn sweat sessions.

Fast forward ten years to my early forties and so many things have changed. Will and I have been blessed with two beautiful children, and while that in itself is reason enough to keep up the strength work, I just don't have the energy. Because being in charge of an energetically willful and determined five-year-old is so much easier when every inch of your body isn't silently screaming out with DOMS.


Ain't nobody got time for DOMS!

But here's the thing: Entering my forties has also taught me the real reason why staying strong is so important. Not to supplement running or to help improve my running form. And not even to stay in shape or have some much-needed me-time. (Although all of these things are, of course, wonderfully positive and important.) I'm slowly but surely starting to realise that staying strong now will be vital in enabling and allowing me to get the most out of the next phase of my life. I will need to be strong in order to optimally enjoy my sixties and beyond. 

How do I know that? By noticing, as the years tick by, that I'm slouching just a little bit deeper than I have before. By hearing my joints creak just a little bit louder when I get out of bed. And by watching my arms and upper body become softer than it's ever been. 

So, for the sake of my future self, I'm once again starting to squat, grunt, crawl and lunge my way to happiness - albeit on a less intensive scale. DOMS be damned!


6 comments:

  1. Beautiful post. I totally agree. I am almost 63 and staying strong is important to prevent injures and pains. Unfortunately I am limited because of the incident in my shoulder, so I cannot go to the gym, I cannot swim as I'd like, I cannot paddle but I do what I can: running, walking, swimming, light gymnastic and phiosyotherapy.

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    1. I applaud you for keeping on doing what you can despite your shoulder injury, Stefano - it is truly inspiring!

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  2. Saar, ek bewonder jou wat kans sien vir daai brandende springery. Ek had nog nooit so 'n klas bygewoon nie, maar is al jare nuuskierig daaroor. Bloot oor waar ek bly was dit nog nooit moontlik nie, maar dit lyk vir my bitter uitputtend sobyso!

    Maar ek hoor wat jy sê, ek is ook op die punt wat ek weet net hardloop doen dit nie meer vir my nie. Daarom het ek 'n paar maande gelede vir my 'n yoga kurses op die internet gekoop en ek moet sê, ek geniet dit verskriklik! Ek het nou al die 3e kurses van dieselfde vrou gekoop, en hierdie een is veral lekker. Dis yoga maar met 'n HIIT benadering! Ek brand nou ook op al wat 'n plek is, maar kaalvoet, in my yoga broek, op my yoga mat - so ek kan enigetyd platval en rus as ek so voel, hehehehe! Moet sê dit pas wonderlik in by die postuuroefeninge wat ons doen. En ek kan dit oral doen wat ek gaan, wat maar altyd deel van my dilemas was oor ek so afhanklik is van consitency.

    Smaak my dinge raak nou diep lekker, wens ek het lankal die dinge geweet! Maar such is life, seker maar ;)

    Dankie vir die lekker skryf en deel. Lief jou baaaaaie! Xxxxxxx

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    1. Ek BEWONDER jou deursettingsvermoe om so op jou eis uit- en aan te hou, Saar - dis hoeka mos waar die manne van die mossies geskei word...! Jy's regtig 'n ystervrou.

      Die bootcamp klasse is vir my heerlik - bitter erg, maar heerlik! Ek had mos 'n army-geen wat wie weet waarvandaan kom. Gee vir my een wat soos 'n generaal op my gil en brul en ek is in my element! Snaaks, ne? Maar hier in NZ is groep-oefenklasse net eenvoudig te duur (vir nou, inelkgeval) - ek weier om R100 vir 'n 25-minuut-klas te betaal. So ek gaan ook maar eers op my eis aan - weet mos na al die jare se klasse wat om te doen. Nie vir my so lekker (of gerieflik?) soos een wat op my gil nie, maar dit werk vir nou. En dis so nodig...!

      Lief jou bitterlik!

      xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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  3. Klink my jou klasse was presies die teenoorgestelde van my yoga, waar die vrou so liefies met mens praat... "As jy nou wil kan ky jou been so maak, of jy kan hom maar net daar los en bietjie sho maak as jy nie wil nie..." Hehehe! Ek dink dis meer aannvaarbaar vir my op hierdie stadium wat in 'n huis VOL mansmense (ja, die kat en die 2 honde is ook manne) bly wat ook maar hou van hiet en gebied en nog moet leer van mooier vra... Gee my asb die sagkens oefen dan!!

    Bewonder jou wat daai goed op jou eie stoom aanpak, Sêrie! Jy sal disipline hê om dit deur te trek, baie mooi voorbeeld vir 'n ieder en 'n elk.
    Lief jou net so! Xxxxxxxxxx

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    1. Ai, my liewe suster - ek verstaaaaaaaan. Ek druk jou styf! xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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