Let’s keep up the scary article reading. Stuff you should or need to do to be a human today. We’re talking exercise and age. Related and unrelated. Or just throw in the midlife crisis subject while at it. It’s always something. You don’t move enough or you move too much. You buy a crisis car or marry someone younger. Get some botox or lift your butt to a nicer angle. And if someone hears that you like to run long, bike, lift or hike, you usually get the follow up comment that you must hide from something. Or maybe something is missing in your life? Beats me. There’s been an endless number of articles in the Swedish press about people starting extreme exercising after 40, burning out because of the pressure of maintaining a good career, a beautiful Instagram life and a great body – and an impressive exercise routine. This sounds so strenuous and exhausting. It’s not only happening in Sweden though, it’s the same way here, I guess. My Insta life is very boring. A dog, lots of trees, mountains, some kids. Not very exciting. And no Insta worthy body here.
It’s easy to say that (extreme) fitness or exercise is about a crisis, the feeling of being young again. But I think it is the opposite. It’s planning, gearing yourself up for the years that are coming, getting better at growing older. I think that sounds so much better than that some of us 40+ (or closer to 50) are running marathons, 50k, 100k and more fun stuff just because we feel old. I can tell you one thing. Nothing makes you feel older than training for a very long multiday race. You have good days and bad days but the bad days… no fun. The soreness, fatigue, body pain, endless endurance training is hard work.
I think the underlying problem is that your limits get pushed and it takes more to make you feel satisfied or maybe even happy. Long runs give you a very rewarding feeling and tiredness that are hard to beat. If you are used to long hikes with no end, usually in horrible conditions it will be difficult to adjust to a walk around the block or the local park for fun. I’m not saying that I need a 5-hour run or a sucky and difficult hike to feel happy, but I need to get outdoors, to a place where you hear the silence, hear your heartbeat, your breath. Feel the rain, your sweat, get your heart pounding. And it’s an ynnest to be able, to have the time and strength to enjoy the outdoors. And I know ynnest is a Swedish word, but I can’t find the right English word. Something like luxury, honor, privilege, blessing.
The things we know about moving your body every day, any kind of exercise, is good. It releases the happy chemical, endorphins. It improves your brain, helps you focus and solve problems. Being a runner gives you even more brain goodies. And we all know that the whole body benefits from it too, not only the brain. The quality of life, overall well-being and mood increases. Your heart loves it. But the question is still if it will be too much if you overdo it. Will too much exercise burnout your brain just like it does with your body?
And some Insta photos