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What Does Fitness Mean for You?

By Claudine Aherne January 31, 2023 Health and Fitness

What do you want to be fit for? Fitness means something different for everyone. Some people want to be fit for trail running, others for windsurfing or mountain biking.

However, there’s more to fitness than handstands, marathons and bulging biceps. Most Sixty and Me readers want to be fit for life, feel confident and enjoy the things that matter to them.

They want to be able to get down to the floor to play with their grandchildren (and get back up after!).

Or they want to be strong enough to carry compost and plant pots around the garden. They want to be able to dig up the weeds and reach up to prune the roses.

Fitness for you might mean having the confidence to travel independently, knowing that you can get on and off buses and trains, go up and down any flight of stairs and lift your bag into the overhead locker without assistance.

Or it might mean something else altogether. It doesn’t matter what; the important thing is that we each take the time to understand what fitness means for us.

Have You Asked Yourself What You Want to Be Fit For?

Don’t worry if you haven’t. Many people don’t ever stop to do so, but we must!

Keep reading to find out:

  • Why you have to ask yourself this question today.
  • How to make it easier to get to the best answer for you.
  • What you should do once you know what you want to be fit for.

Why Is It Important to Ask Ourselves What We Want to Be Fit For?

When we hear the word fitness, our minds often turn to lycra-clad gym bunnies, bodybuilders or endurance cyclists. This can be intimidating and make us feel that ‘fitness’ isn’t relevant to us or that we don’t fit any of these moulds. Knowing our why can make fitness meaningful to each of us.

It can also help us to stick to a programme and make it a regular part of our routine. If we don’t know why we’re doing something, it’s pretty hard to keep going.

Knowing why we want to be fitter can be very motivating. In our Studio, we’ve seen again and again how much this helps our members to remain committed to their exercise programme.

This knowledge also means we can choose the right exercises for our goals.

If you decide that feeling steadier on the stairs is the most important thing for you, then the exercises you do might be different from if the motivation is to be able to keep up with your grandchildren in the park (we have programmes for both in our Studio, by the way!).

How to Answer It for Yourself?

There are usually a few ways to approach an important question.

Here are a few that will help you understand how fitness can be meaningful for you. I’d recommend getting a pen or noting your answers on your phone or tablet. It makes it much more real, and you’ll be able to capture all your thoughts. You’re going to be surprised by how much you come up with.

#1: What Do You Enjoy Doing Now?

  • Are these activities you want to keep doing, e.g., volunteering, playing golf or going for regular walks with a friend?
  • If you don’t maintain your fitness, is there a risk that you won’t be able to keep doing these activities that you enjoy?

#2: What Are You Struggling With?

  • Are you finding gardening more challenging than it used to be?
  • Do you notice your balance more when you’re out walking?
  • Perhaps your joints feel stiffer, or you find it harder to carry your shopping up the stairs?
  • Could these struggles or challenges be made easier with exercise (if you do the right exercises, at the right level for you, of course)?

#3: What Is Coming Up in the Future for You?

Look at your diary or think about the coming months and years.

  • Do you have any trips planned? Maybe a holiday, or you’re planning to visit family or friends?
  • Maybe you have grandchildren on the way, or your family will need more help in various ways?
  • Are you feeling fit enough to make the most of these? Are you concerned about how you will cope with them?

#4: What Dreams Do You Have?

Permit yourself to have a little daydream here.

  • What are your hopes and wishes for the future?
  • Perhaps you’d like to visit an old school friend abroad or take a cruise?
  • Maybe you’d like to be able to help out more with your grandchildren?
  • It might not be a big event – your dream could be to feel more confident and have more energy every day.

Now think about this:

Would this dream be easier to realise if you were fitter or stronger or had better balance?

That’s it – no more questions!

Now, look at all the notes you’ve made. It should be pretty clear what you want (and need) to be fit for. There might be one clear area of focus, or there might be several things. Both are fine; the main thing is that you’ve worked out what fitness means for you.

What’s Next?

Now that you know what you want to be fit for, you can ensure you’re following the right exercise programme.

You won’t waste any time, and you’ll know that your fitness efforts are going towards the things that matter to you.

At this point, you could consult an exercise professional or look for a programme specific to your needs and challenges.

For example, in the Vida Wellness online exercise Studio and community, we have a series of exercise videos called Fit for Life. We already have videos and programmes focusing on Fit for Travel, Fit for Grandchildren and Fit for Gardening, and we will add more in the future.

The full videos are available to Studio members, but you can do some Fit for Life exercises right now. Just click play on this short taster session from our Fit for Life instructor, Tina:

Studio members also enjoy access to a wide selection of videos and programmes, including Healthy Hips, Feel Stronger, Move More Easily and Strong & Steady on the Stairs.

As a Studio Member, you’ll feel confident exercising at home with clear, easy-to-follow videos, professional advice and the support and encouragement of other members.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

What do you want to be fit for? Do you think it’s important to know your goals in order to keep up with your fitness routine? Would you do a specific fitness program tailored to your goals? We’d love to know!

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The Author

Over the last 16 years, Claudine has helped hundreds of people to improve their balance, feel stronger and move more easily. That's why her in-person classes and online programmes have been featured globally, including on BBC Radio 4. Members of her online exercise studio enjoy an extensive library of easy-to-follow videos, as well as advice and support. Try some taster videos from the Vida Wellness Studio.

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