Every January, it amazes me how many people spend energy and time on health and fitness “resolutions,” only to ditch them a few weeks later.

Human behaviour is interesting, and the reasons behind why people fail are too.  Often, people can’t stick to something because of unrealistic expectations, or they are unwilling to leave their comfort zone because of the daily habits/patterns they have come to know over the years. Change is hard, and so is getting uncomfortable.

Want to try new things as you age?  What would it look like if the reason you get in shape this year isn’t about “resolutions”?

How are you keeping strong?

Keeping your muscles healthy as you age is a critical factor in being able to continue to try new things.  It makes getting out of your comfort zone is a little easier.  When I interviewed the leading practitioner of functional fitness in my book, Juan Carlos (JC) Santana, we discussed the ways to keep active. JC is the Founder and Director of the Institute of Human Performance (www.ihpfit.com).  IHP is a state-of-the-art training facility in Boca Raton, Florida.  He says, “with functional training, no single muscle screams; instead, the entire body sings.”

If we want to play in a variety of ways as we age, it’s essential to supplement our activities with functional movement. Our bodies don’t move in a single direction — we move side to side, backward, forward, and diagonally. You’ll want to include performing different directional movement patterns in your training. JC calls these the four pillars of human movement.

When strengthening your muscles, think of the four pillars as push and pull (upper body), level change/motion (lower body) and rotation (core). You can practice a couple of times a week in the gym, at a playground, on a bench or in your living room! 

Where is your comfort zone?

As a health coach and play expert, I help my clients make small daily habits that build confidence towards better health. I try to get out of my comfort zone as often as I can, especially when I’m in new places or travelling with my family. On one recent adventure, I found myself upside down on a zip line high above the Mexican jungle. Being on the zip line itself was exhilarating, let alone being upside down. Click HERE to see the video.

The reason I can still do this is that I practice functional movements as part of my play habit. So, when the guide told me to hang upside down, I felt ready.  It was so fun!

Can you reframe your health and fitness “resolutions” a little differently?

With all the options to play (exercise) more often right outside your front door, here is a list of The Most Fun Outdoor Activities that might inspire you.

You can find a way to keep the muscles you need reliable to be able to play at anything life offers to you. Hiking? Biking? Camping? Zip lining?

In “The Play Book How To Get In The Habit Of Good Health,” I included a list of 150 Ways to be more functional and get more active. If you try even a few this year, you just might be inspired to try more!

Step out of your comfort zone

Life shrinks and expands with one’s courage. It takes bravery to face change and step out of your comfort zone. A functional movement habit can allow you to continue to play well into the next year and beyond.  

You can waste your time stopping, starting, ultimately ending up back where you began, OR you can take your health seriously and invest in yourself. Invest in living a less sedentary life.

Time is ticking; life is short; how are you going to show up to play?