Physical Fitness is Discipline, Not Luck

Triathlon Transition, Athlete Running With BikePhysical fitness is discipline, not luck. It is planned, organized, and made a priority during any given day. It is a way of life. It feels good. It includes eating food that is nutritious and provides adequate fuel (but not too much) to get through a day filled with activity.

Physical fitness can be attained at any age or stage in life, with discipline. For some, perhaps there is a genetic predisposition to be more coordinated, more athletic.  But for most people, fitness comes down to hard work, dedication and a commitment to one’s self.  And that is not to be confused with being selfish.

Personal health is one of those circles in the diagrams we have all seen that overlap to reflect a balanced life. It intersects with work, family, and social obligations and goals. When personal health gets out of kilter, there is no doubt that it interrupts the delicate balance we call being “centered.”

A family member once shared a quote that I have always appreciated. I took the liberty of substituting William Jennings Bryan’s original word, destiny, with fitness.

“Fitness (Destiny) is not a matter of chance. It is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.”

I am inspired when I hear about an 80 year old mother of a friend who “demands” that if she is to move closer to her daughter, she must have a house that: 1) has stairs that have to be climbed to get to the bedroom; and 2) is located within walking distance of a grocery store so that she can walk there daily.

Now that is a cool “elderly” woman. She recognizes she may have some limitations in her aging body but she wants to do as much as she can for as long as she can. I want to be her when I grow up.

The limitations we associate with aging are driven by low expectations from society. The workouts to maintain physical fitness in our eighties may look different than what we did when we were younger, but they still require planning, commitment, dedication and in some cases, choices about how hard earned and saved dollars are spent. Physical fitness has to be a priority.

This educational piece was provided by Karen Kovacs, the Clinical Director of Tidewater Physical Therapy’s Gloucester Point location. Karen Kovacs is also a USAT Level 1 Triathlon Coach and accomplished endurance athlete.