“Old age is not measured chronologically. One becomes old when fixities of habit are established – set permanently – when the formation of new habits is no longer welcome. The sensitivity is dulled by lack of alertness towards environmental changes. Acceptance of routine and running into a rut of dull repetitions tend to slow the responses and to allow inertia to gather weight. Old words, old fixities, traditions of a past age must give way to new realizations of facts or truths, as they relate to modern living.”
These word were written 80 years ago by Mabel Elsworth Todd, but they resonate and are even more relevant today than they were in 1929 when she wrote her book, “The Thinking Body.”
In a time where the life expectancy was much less than it is in the year 2010, Todd recognized that the acceptance of routine and habit was the beginning of the end. How many of you have fallen into a routine? How many of you follow a predictable – easy – pattern of life? When it comes to exercise, falling into a routine is the easy way out, a non-effort, effort. Following a routine – same exercises, same order, same repetitions and set, same days – in many ways is like not exercising at all.
Examine Todd’s words and see if they apply to you. This passage is worth repeating. “One becomes old when fixities of habit are established when the formation of new habits is not longer welcome.” Are you afraid to make changes to your workout routine or to try something new/different, or do you even think about making changes. It doesn’t matter how many years have passed – 28, 35, 56, 72 – when you stop accepting change – embracing change – you become old.
Todd knew it 80 years ago. We should know it now. Personally, I feel a major reason life expectancy has increased to the extent it has is because our lifestyle has forced change upon us constantly, in all areas. Even people who don’t embrace change have benefited from the fact that society has made it necessary to form new habits in order to exist. The ability and willingness to accept change keeps us young and living life to the fullest.