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A Lifetime of Fitness - Just Showing Up

Updated: Mar 28, 2021

Scroll through any social media platform, and you’ll see the latest 6-week fitness challenge...6-weeks to rock hard abs, 6-weeks to lose that baby weight, 6-weeks to get summer ready.

But what if just “showing up” was good enough? I know, to many that sounds absolutely think, ‘but I’ve got to have a goal, right?”

Well, what if the goal was simply moving your body, appreciating what it can do, and listening to what it wants to give each and every day without any set agenda? What if the goal is to feel strong one day, to feel more balanced another, and on some days, to simply just play?

When I was in school, we were taught to program for a very specific outcome...3 sets of 10 reps, of each exercise for “x” amount of time to reach a certain goal. What I’ve come to realize is that most people are not necessarily looking to reach a certain goal, and the ones who are overly specific tend to lose focus and give up as soon as they catch a cold, get distracted at their job, or miss a few sessions.

Most people just want to feel better, move better, and have a better quality of life. I’ve also noticed that what we think is important in our 30’s is not even on the radar in our 60’s and 70’s. So how do we build a lifetime of good health and fitness habits that carries us from our 20’s and 30’s into our 70’s and 80’s?

I have a client that I’ve been working with for years now, who comes in every week, and wisely says to me that “you just have to show up.” She is such an inspiration to me.

There are most certainly days when the last thing we want to do is workout. There are days when we’re sleep deprived, have too much going on at work, are coming down with a cold, or just have too much to do. There are days when life just gets in the way, but if our only agenda is to simply show up and do our best, then maybe we do just that?!?

We do that for weeks, which turn into months, and eventually add up to years. By the time we’ve reached our senior years, movement is just a part of our everyday lives, our quality of life is improved, we’re less likely to fall, we can get up and down on the floor with our grandchildren, and are able to carry out more activities of daily living. We’re happier, and may even live longer. All of this from ‘just showing up!"

I like to think of a lifetime of fitness as much more of a marathon than a sprint. Just like the tortoise, if we keep plugging along, eventually we’ll make it to the finish line.

This isn’t to say that short term goals aren’t a good idea, but what if the short term goals can be secondary to our long term goal of feeling good in our own bodies, and having that be “enough?”

It’s like having a goal of learning to cook a new style of food, I might set out to make a new fancy dish every week, but then maybe life gets in the way. I get off track, but I still continue to eat every day. Why should movement be any different? What kind of movement goals could you accomplish by just showing up?

Carrie Craven is a holistic movement practitioner who owns and operates Your Health First LLC out of Portland, OR. Since 2013, she's been devoted to helping women make their own health and wellness a priority by learning new ways to explore movement in order to improve activities of daily living, reduce injury, feel more connected, and enhance efficiency. See how we can work together.

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