The older I get, the easier it is for me to change my mind and adopt new ideas. Some people get more set in their ways, saying things like, “I’ll never try online dating,” or, “I’d never take a dance class alone.”

But really, who cares? We are fully formed grownups. We can change our minds and try new things. If we don’t, we might be wasting our last chances.

Back in my 20s, I joined a gym and went twice. Been there, done that, right? My words, “I’ll never join a gym,” were a tasty snack. I ate ‘em and recently joined a gym. Here’s why.

I moved into a lovely home in a historic area close to downtown. A couple weeks later, a body was dumped in an empty lot less than a mile away. Hindsight being what it is, I researched the “livability” score of my new neighborhood. It is only 52.

You can check your own neighborhood’s score here. AARP scores neighborhoods across the country based on “services and amenities that impact your life the most.”

Well, Dorothy, there’s no place like home. While I gained better access to public transportation, something I want as I get older and choose to drive less, I know I won’t be walking to or from home before sunrise or after sunset.

Checking Out the Options for Getting Fitter

I researched my gym choices and did not pick the least expensive one. I chose a franchise that has a location near my house and one near my mom’s house in Arizona where I knew I’d be spending time over the holidays. Plus, there’s one near the home of a guy I’m dating who could also use the workout. Just sayin’.

This gym has locations all of the world, and here’s their pitch: “If you’re looking to join a supportive, welcoming gym community, with people of all fitness levels who want to see you succeed, you’ve come to the right place.”

It has been just that. My trainer texted me last night to check my progress. Thanks, Zack, for showing me the ropes and for all the “atta girl’s” as he assessed my 63-year-old one-owner vehicle.

Back to my visit with 89-year-old Mom in Arizona – here’s why all of us should think about our fitness goals. Mom fell. I was there. Thank God I could lay with her on the floor and gauge her pain.

When she was able to scootch to the toilet, she could not lift herself up to use it. I couldn’t lift her because it hurt her too much. The 911 team just swooped her up, strapped her down, and whooshed her to the hospital.

She stayed there for eight days, followed by 10 days at a nice skilled care rehab. She’s home now, and I know she is doing the PT work. She tasted a loss of her freedom, and it sucked.

Independence Requires Physical Fitness

My mom could have become a statistic: about a quarter of the people who end up in assisted living are there because they can’t lift themselves up off the toilet. If we don’t use it, we lose about five percent of our muscles’ strength per decade after age 35. It’s called sarcopenia.

We lose bone density, too. And, of course, there’s balance. My mom tripped over a shoe and went down on a carpeted floor with a cushy bed to break the fall. Her balance is about what it should be in her final months as an octogenarian. If she’d hit concrete, I doubt she’d be home.

I’m in my 60s and wobble all the time. Good balance takes practice. I hope mine improves at the gym, but we can work it at home too. Just try standing on one leg while you brush your teeth. If your brush has a 30 second timer, alternate legs on the ZZ-ZZ-ZZ.

There are so many opportunities for fitness now. It’s not like when I was growing up and sports were mostly for boys. My gym is coed and all ages. They offer a Silver Sneakers program which I’ll join when I’m 65.

I tend to head straight for the rowing machine, then some weights and, if there’s time, I treadmill on random hills. The technology is very cool. An app tells me if I’m shy a visit of my three times a week goal.

It’s Time to Ditch Limiting Beliefs

Let’s think about our negative attitudes for a second. Never say never is a good place to start. I said I’d never be twice divorced, but it’s going to be just fine. For more than 30 years, I convinced myself I’d never be a healthy weight. It was my excuse to eat and drink whatever I wanted. NOT.

There is a much better reason to get fit than weight loss. Those of us wanting to celebrate a 100th birthday know fitness will be a best friend in our coming decades.

I used to believe walking most days was fitness enough. I lived in a little beach town with a high livability index. But walking’s not enough. We need strength, balance, and cardio conditioning. Right, Zack?

It’s a good time to unpack our “nevers” and put them to work. I never thought I’d zip line or work the Pittsburg Pirates spring training games or try Match.com. I never thought I’d take sailing lessons or be able to put on my bell bottom jeans from high school.

Life is long. Live it up. Never say never.

What are some “never” statements that you had to eat up as time went by? Are you easily adaptable to change? Or do you prefer to simply keep your present state as is? Please share your thoughts with our community!

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