What I Love About Being 40+

robyn bike riding

If you exercise, what’s your goal? Have you really thought about it?

Have you given yourself a free pass to let exercise be “for fun”? Or is the idea of workouts being FUN something you don’t allow yourself? After all, it has the word “work” in it. I think of my time devoted to physical activities as “playing sports” because “playing” sounds better than “working.” (I work A LOT already.)

Robyn with her tennis coach and team.
Robyn with her tennis coach and team.

Here’s what my competitive sport gives me a few times a week: a social experience, an endorphin-increase, Vitamin-D rich sunshine on my skin and in my soul, a chance to improve my skills, and keep my brain and body sharp and quick.

Tennis is so strategic, and you have to think in sync with your partner, deconstruct your opponent’s game. Change up whenever your game—your serve, your return, your slice, your forehand—isn’t working. (Just like in business, in parenting, in life.)

I’d say that’s worth 10 hours a week, wouldn’t you?

If you follow my work, you know that I’m a big fan of intuitively eating like we used to: when you’re hungry, eat whole and nourishing foods, as much as you need. Don’t count or measure. (Unless this is important to you. Some folks prefer to live with more rules than I do.) Minimizing the processed food, alcohol, and dessert. (Or even eliminating them, if that doesn’t do something weird to your emotional health.)

I feel the same about exercise. If I was ever an extremist about food, I’m not now. Same thing with exercise.

I don’t give a crap about having 6-pack abs. (I probably have 6-pack abs, and so do you. I just haven’t fat-starved myself for you to see them. And I’m okay with that.)

I have exactly zero interest in running a marathon. CrossFit, no thank you. I’m kind of waiting for CrossFit gyms to go away, if any of them are reading this. No offense to those of you who find your tribe there, in the triathlon packs and the CrossFit gyms. They are fun communities and certainly the extreme sports and CrossFit gangs are fit! Y’all certainly have lovely bodies.

ema blog1
Robyn, Emma, and friends running a 10k!

But, the more reflective I get, as my own life experience increases….the more interested I am in overall health, rather than “peak fitness.” My goals are to be physically healthy, to have no activity I can’t do (hiking, skiing, biking, 10k’s, travel and adventures), and emotionally healthy enough that I always WANT to do those things with my free time.

And then, to have sports be something I do for the challenge, the fun, the sunshine, the camaraderie—and to break a sweat every day. Not for another way to create stress in my life. I have enough stress.

(I run a small business. I’m raising a teenager. ‘Nuff said?)

I’m fit enough. I’m muscular enough.

I do care about being fit. I do care that I can jog five miles. (Truth be told, I care that I can beat my dad, a lifelong runner, in a 5k or 10k too.)

I do care that I can win more than I lose, at a 4.0 level in tennis. I care that I’m a contributor to my team, that they feel they can win when I’m their partner.

I’m also at peace with the fact that I don’t lift weights. I think weight bearing exercise is great and important—but I let my 3-days-a-week yoga practice cover that. Nobody has time to do everything. And I had to give up weight lifting when I got serious about tennis.

One of the best things about being 40-something is getting over yourself. Letting go of what doesn’t serve. Being comfortable in your own skin. Loving yourself despite all the physical marks and signs of whatever has happened to you in that 40+ years.

My own skin includes silver stretch marks on my hips. Thank you, four beautiful babies.

My own skin includes laugh lines at the corner of my eyes. Thank you, so many memories with amazing people with whom I have a thousand funny inside jokes.

My own skin includes freckles on my knees and shoulders, even some pre-cancers here and there. Thank you, a thousand hours of fun in the sunshine.

I hope you let yourself off the hook a little and enjoy this moment, this day, this family and friends you have, this body you have. They aren’t perfect, but that’s what’s so great: they have so many ways that they’re beautiful and unique.

My body has served me so well, and I’m not going to criticize it for not having a 6-pack. I feel more beautiful at 40-something than I ever did in my uber-fit teens and early 20’s, when I criticized myself constantly.

I hope for the same for you.

5 thoughts on “What I Love About Being 40+

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  1. Hey Robin, I agree with you 100%. I am 72 and never felt better, or in better shape, so it has just begun for you. Love your body and enjoy life. Don’t ‘sweat’ the small stuff.

    1. And it’s all small stuff. (The guy who wrote that book? Died young, proving his points. Left behind two young daughters. I bet it all seemed like small stuff the day he was dying.) thanks for the comment, Sharon, that’s so inspiring!

  2. Hi Robyn, I agree. Anything done to excess is unhealthy. They don’t tell you that extreme endurance sports will give you heart disease. Your arteries may not clog, but you electrical system may go haywire (and that, my friends, is also heart disease–at lease according to my cardiologist). After years of running, cycling, etc., I came down with AFib and it sucks. Now I spend my time teaching and playing tennis, riding a little now and then, and exercising just enough to stay fit. I’m enjoying my late 50’s better than my 20s, 30s, or 40s since I’m not obsessed with mileage or numbers. Also, diet matters more than exercise. But, you know that!

    1. Carl. Sorry this happened to you. Let’s get you on my podcast talking about “your high vibration life.” Hope to launch in July. This is what we talk about, the body’s and the whole organism’s electrical field! Send me a fb messenger with your phone number if you’re willing?

  3. I love this and appreciate these thoughts now that I’m turning 40 this year. It’s been a time of reflection and introspection, a time to reexamine my priorities. I used to run marathons and hope I can pull one more out for my 40th birthday. There are days when I want to be fast again, but know that it takes a double toll on my body. I also used to care more about my 6-pack showing and sometimes wish it would again, but also know that the lifestyle to maintain that takes a toll on my family. And my body. I often feel pulled towards endurance sports, partly because I love them, partly because I want to see if I can do it. But I’m also learning that endurance sports are not for most people and take a serious toll on your body (like Carl said), mind and relationships. I hope as I get older I will be wise and take age and all it brings in stride like you are learning to do. There is definitely not time to do everything, so I love that you have found balance and continually strive to maintain that balance as life changes. Thanks for a great blog post!!
    P.S. If you ever want some quick weight-lifting/weight-bearing workouts, check out my website (www.6pgp.com) where I post workouts and (very unprofessional) videos I do at home (most can be done in 15-20 minutes).

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