We Are All Athletes: Finding & Nurturing the Athlete in YOU

Sunset-Paddle-BoardWhat do all these people have in common?

  • Marathon runner
  • Sumo wrestler
  • Baseball player
  • Dancer
  • Skateboarder
  • Surfer
  • Cyclist
  • Yoga practitioner
  • Gymnast
  • Weightlifter
  • Golfer
  • Swimmer

The answer is: They Are ALL Athletes. But, think about each of them for a minute…what do you envision they look like? Are they all the same? Muscular? Thin? Tall? No. Each athlete has a body type and shape that suits their sport. You wouldn’t expect a professional figure skater to do well if they have the figure of a weightlifter. Nor would you expect a sumo wrestler to be successful if he has the body of a surfer. Still, would you say that a thin, sinewy professional marathon runner is less of an athlete than an offensive tackle football player? Definitely not. The point is athletes come in all different shapes, sizes and ages. And, just because you don’t look like Kelly Slater, Mariya Ryemyen or Chris Brooks (look them up!) doesn’t mean you can’t find your inner athlete.

What It Takes To Be An Athlete

Everyone (yes, I said EVERYONE!) can be an athlete, and getting involved in a sport is not only good for your body, it can help relieve stress and increase your overall happiness. The key is finding the sport that fits your body and/or your interest. I hear people say, “I’m not athletic enough” or “I don’t have the body for it.” Well, I disagree. Being an “athlete” isn’t simply about your body type, there are several factors that work together. When it comes to sports, people may have:

  • Genetic/physical qualities
  • Talent/skills
  • Mental strengths/ great discipline

Combine these in any number of ways and you have a full range of athletes – professional and amateur. However, there is one major factor that can make all the difference in sports and athletic activities – how much you enjoy what you’re doing. You don’t have to be perfect to enjoy participating in a sport. The perfection comes in the pleasure you receive from your involvement. I know many people who are awful golfers, but love it so much they make time to play every week. They may never be a pro, but they get so many benefits from their sport that they incorporate it into their daily life, and their fitness training. I often tell people to find the exercise that they enjoy the most because that is what they are most likely to continue doing over time.  What activity would you like to do? What would bring you happiness? Do you like to see and experience nature? If so, maybe: biking, cross-country running, surfing, or paddle boarding is a good match for your inner athlete. If you prefer something more mentally focused: golf, yoga or karate may be for you.

Enjoyment Is The Key to Longevity

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Me – Enjoying the Sport I Love!!

I believe that when you enjoy something so much, you typically want to spend as much of your time doing that particular thing. For me personally, I LOVE to surf. But, I also love just being outdoors, and doing anything active, especially activities that can be done outdoors: standup paddle boarding, yoga, rollerblade, run, swim, bike, tennis, volleyball, climb, jump, hula, paddle ball, even yard work…basically, anything that includes natural body movement. Ask yourself – What activity would you like to do? What would bring you happiness? Do you like to see and experience nature? If so, maybe: biking, cross-country running, surfing, or paddle boarding is a good match for your inner athlete. If you prefer something more mentally focused: golf, yoga or karate may be for you.

The Many Benefits of Sports & Athletics

don wildman paddleboarding
Don Wildman – Age 81 – Fit as a fiddle and enjoying a variety of physical activities everyday

Finding your inner athlete can be so rewarding that the benefits spill over into multiple areas of your life. Naturally, physical activity comes with a plethora of cardiovascular benefits, as well as being a great stress reducer and outlet for those needing a break from the day-to-day grind. Furthermore, constant progression month-after-month in your sport/activity will not only give you something to look forward to on a daily/weekly basis, but it has been shown to greatly improve overall self-confidence. Furthermore, lifelong athletes end up inspiring others to not only follow in their footsteps, but to continue through the years, exploring and adapting with their favorite sport/activity to each phase in life.

Don’t let age be a factor stopping you. Remember, your body is much more than your build or your age. I have found that many of my clients have created their “best body” or felt the “best they have ever felt” during their later years in life. Your fitness should enhance more than your health alone. A word to the wise – find and develop your own athletic persona during your lifetime. I promoise you wont be sorry you did and you may end up inspiring others to find theirs, too. 

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