Resilience is defined as being able to recover quickly from difficulties or the ability to spring back into shape. As we get older, it gets harder to be resilient. We may pull a muscle and it takes six weeks to heal compared to four weeks when we were younger. We may run a 5K and it takes three days compared to one day to recover our energy and rid ourselves of the soreness. As I get older, I choose exercise activities that allow me to get up the next day refreshed. Swimming laps, biking trails and trampoline running/jumping gives me a great workout without the incredible soreness that other higher impact activities like basketball left me with.
To stay well and actively age, we need to encourage and build resilience in our daily lives. Not just physical resilience but also emotional, psychological and social. It’s been said that we are what we repeatedly do. If we choose healthy behavior patterns when we’re young, like eating nutritious foods, getting daily exercise and sleeping well daily, we’ll most likely be healthier later in life. The same is true about learning how to bounce back from adversity when we’re younger allows us to be able to do so when we’re older. Somebody once told me that what they do for me, takes that ability away from me. For example, if somebody cooks my meals for me all the time, then I won’t know how to cook for myself. We need to help others and ourselves to take charge when faced with a challenge and not choose to become a victim.
Working in the fitness business with adults of all ages, I get to see the difference between a take charge personality and a victim personality. The take charge personalities are very resilient people. They’re not without problems though. It’s just that when they’re faced with a problem or challenge, they don’t whine about it and get down. They push ahead and try to solve it.
Here’s a few characteristic qualities that resilient adults display day to day (American Council on Exercise, ACE). They have the ability to identify and utilize resources. They stay optimistic. They have the ability to use humor in a positive manner. They have a sense of purpose and a positive attitude. They accept the changes that happen whether physical or mental. They have positive interpersonal relationships. They have a positive self-esteem. They’re creative. They maintain a healthy spiritual life. They try to be self-efficient.
Are you resilient? How many of these characteristics do you have? Here’s to you becoming more resilient and healthier every day.
About the author
Jonathan Souder is the fitness director at Manor House, an Acts Retirement-Life Community in Seaford, www.manorhouse.org. Email your thoughts to email@example.com.