f²: Eternal Youth Uncovered

Watercolour of woman walking dog in the park, eternal youth
Above: A dog walk in the park with a friend is good for the body and the soul.

After many years of observing women of all ages, I have concluded that the secret to “eternal youth” is to stay active and keep moving — no matter how old you are. Encouraging in both its simplicity and its accessibility, I am convinced that this is the key to keeping your body, mind and soul healthy and fit for the long haul.

Like many young girls, I dreamed of being a dancer and from the ages of 8 – 14, my world revolved around ballet. Eventually reality caught up with me. What I lacked in height, I didn’t necessarily make up in talent either, and with the excitement of high school beckoning, I retired my ballet shoes. I may have stopped dancing but I realise now that I had already built the foundations for a life of movement.

From then on I have exercised regularly, albeit eclectically, through the decades — my “feel good” pill that accompanied me during life’s highs and lows. When I had an abysmal design critique at architecture school, I ran along the River Charles; when I was frustrated with working in corporate architecture, I went to the gym; and when I was stressed with running my own practice, I danced my heart out. By my 40’s I started to notice that  my body would only cooperate if I took good care of it. Knee niggles in my twenties were easy to ignore. Plantar fascitis in my feet, lower back pain, and an arthritic shoulder two decades later were not.

It became clear to me that if I wanted to keep doing what was important to me in terms of working, taking care of my family and enjoying life, I needed to stay strong, balanced, flexible and most importantly, injury free. I added pilates for alignment and core strength, yoga for balance and flexibility, and strength training for muscle mass (did you know that we lose muscle mass as we age?). Maintaining our bodies to run well and efficiently requires continuous assessment and calibration. Unlike cars though, you only have one body. Be your own best mechanic by learning more about it and like it or not, you are the best person for that job.

N.B.: This was was originally published on “My Contents Have Shifted”, an earlier version of “Fabulous Fabsters” on 6 October 2015.

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