The beauty of being a Certified Group Fitness Instructor is the support you receive from your certifying agency, in my case, ACE (American Council on Exercise). They provide me with a seemingly endless library of health and fitness resources to keep my education current and well-rounded.
I recently read an article pertaining to this thing called Fungevity, or "how long you can enjoy your life and have fun". Made me rethink why I bother working out and spending time at the gym instead of doing other less active fun things. I have heard non-exercisers comment "why waste an hour at the gym now just to tack on an hour in the nursing home later?". So why do we bother to exercise? Are we wasting our youth in the gym just to bank it for our wrinkly later years?
Some of us exercise to live longer. We want to stick around to see our children and grandchildren grow, experience the joy of retirement from our jobs, or maybe prolong the scary thing that death is to us. As Woody Allen once said "I'm not afraid to die, I just don't want to be there when it happens".
Having a higher quantity of life is great... but what about the quality of it? Instead of just living longer, how about we aim to live better? We are given a certain number of years. Do we choose to waste them in front of a television watching shows about other people's lives or do we choose to create our own show... our own documentary, our own adventure? Have we created something, built something, experienced something unique? It doesn't have to involve climbing mountains, bungee jumping or traveling to faraway places. It just has to be something we enjoy doing that makes us a better, happier, more interesting, more fulfilled person.
We exercise because fun things are even more fun when our bodies are conditioned enough to undertake them. I recently went on a 4 day backpacking trip with an active group of people, some of which were well into their 60s. Despite the cold, rain, mud and rocky terrain, we all powered on and we all successfully finished our trek with minor soreness but plenty of smiles, wonderful stories, memories and plans for the next, big adventure. I sure do love to hike, but if I had to do it in a de-conditioned, out-of-shape body, I'm pretty certain I would not enjoy it as much. I'd be complaining about how much my feet hurt, how tired I am, how heavy my pack is, and I'd miss the joy of the scenery, the smells, and the laughs all around me.
So back to the gym I go, to take the next fitness class that promises to keep me strong and active. Out I go, to hike the local trails in preparation for the next big adventure in the wilderness. To me, this is fun and I plan on doing fun for as long as this body will allow me. I refuse to spend my wiser years planted on the couch watching the sun rise and set as I wait for the reaper to ring my doorbell. As Morgan Freeman said as Ellis Boyd "Red" Redding in the movie Shawshank Redemption "Get busy living, or get busy dying".
Carpe Diem and keep building your Fungevity!