It’s ironic that when some Aussie men finally have the time and resources to enjoy themselves more, they no longer have the physical capacity or energy to do it.
A friend recently told me that I’m now getting the pay off from a lifetime of healthy choices. There’s also probably an element of luck that I’m pain free and still enjoy an active lifestyle including surfing and running. The difference now is, I never time my runs or count my waves. I’ve learned to just enjoy being out there.
I’d like to offer some simple observations for men from the age of 30 who want to live life to the fullest now and for decades to come.
Firstly, when I reflect on the choices I made in my 30s and 40s that I’m now getting the payoff from, I realise everything starts with the physical. When I was a High Performance Coach at Collingwood, I used to always tell my players the best way to a strong mental preparation is a strong physical preparation.
Many Australian men suffer from poor mental health. Beyond Blue believes 1 in 5 Australians suffer some form of mental health issue each year and there are currently 1 million Australians with Depression and 2 million with anxiety.
I am convinced that many of the emotional problems faced by way too many middle aged men stems from them slipping a few rungs down the ladder of their physical capability, and being unable to deal with it.
Our ‘mere male’ ego is quite fragile and emotional issues are just one small step away from relationship issues. The fallout from relationship issues spreads like wildfire and is crippling to society.
I also count myself lucky for being in a long term, loving marriage and having a strong bond with my family. I grew up trying to make my father proud of me and I know my two sons (no daughters) have done the same with me. I’m super proud of them and try to let them know regularly. I count this as one of my other secrets to staying young while getting old - fostering strong family relationships. Tell your kids you love them and that you’re proud of them and be interested enough to give reasons that mean something to them.
We’ve learned through Healthy Ageing Studies that what we are doing now has impact for the next 20 years. Do at least 30 minutes of activity every 48 hours helps keep your body young and your mind thinking positive thoughts.
Secondly, we have to control your egos. Ultimately a happy life is finding peace of mind and that includes being grateful if you can and not too hard on ourselves.
Finally, you’ve probably heard of the saying’ it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey’. Someone plagiarized that from the 16th Century Spanish Writer Cervantes who said, ‘the journey is better than the Inn’…in other words, just do the best you can today.
Cervantes is the Author of Don Quixote, still the most famous piece of Spanish Literature of all time, but he didn’t start work on it until he was 55 years of age. If doing the best you can ever day is good enough for Cervantes, it’s good enough for us.
A simple 6-day cycle of Cardio, Rest, Strength, Rest, Stretching, Rest is all you need and you’ll start to see and feel the benefits almost immediately.
Regardless of whether you’re in your 30s, 40s, 50s or 60s, it is possible to put the hard yards in to improve your quality of life. The physical and the mental feed each other. It’s all about just doing the best you can today!