What are the top 5 things on your bucket list? Here are mine:
- Hike in New Zealand (so I can feel like I’m in Lord of the Rings)
- Kayak in the Caribbean (Have you seen those blue waters?)
- Eat my way through Europe (Fresh baguette?
- Hike up to Machu Picchu (Again, have you seen it?)
- Learn to surf in California (I always wanted to learn)
No, not skydiving (I’m petrified of heights). Each of these activities, however, carries a risk. Risk of disease, risk of falls, risk of death. Let’s face it, every day that we wake up and get out of bed, we’re taking a risk by living. So, why wouldn’t you want to cross these things off your bucket list while you have the time?
My top 5 things require a certain level of fitness to reduce injury or safety incidences, and to also fully enjoy the experience. You can’t prepare for everything that could happen to us, but we can decrease the likelihood of these incidents happening and increase our chances for fun.
Did you know only a third of Americans report being happy? A third. Positive psychology instructor, Emily Esfahani Smith from University of Pennsylvania states that being in control of you life can help you find happiness and joy, among a few other things. Smith suggests writing out your days to see the experiences that make you, you, but I would like to take this one step further. Being in control of your life means taking charge of your health too. Realizing you’re the author of your own life means that you can make the next chapter different. Being in control of your life means crossing these things off your bucket list. If, however, you’re not healthy enough to complete them, how will your story end?
Staying in shape in general helps us heal faster from injuries (if we sustain them), likely because our bodies are able to circulate blood and nutrients better throughout to help us recover. After my car accident nearly a year ago (August 2018, I totaled my vehicle, ask me about it), my soreness in my neck and back healed quickly because I participated in CrossFit and stayed active. The CT showed only a minor neck strain and minor head injury, which could have been a lot worse, had I not been active and healthy. My soreness lasted only 2 days, whereas an inactive person might have lasted 4 or 5 days. Now there’s mounting research that suggests college educated people recover faster from brain injuries because of an increased cognitive reserve. (I’ll be writing about this later)
More importantly than treating past injuries and preventing future ones, is that getting in shape just allows you to enjoy life more. Your bucket list probably includes somethings that scare you right? So, why not gain some confidence to check them off by tackling something as simple as getting in a workout? Working out builds confidence, a feeling of accomplishment. Increase your number of accomplishments and increase your confidence. Also, the dopamine released during a workout helps keep you happy.
So when we’re considering what we want our lives to look like, how does fitness play a role in that vision? Is there anything that will require a strenuous activity? Is there anything you need to train for? What would crossing these things off your bucket list mean to you?
I have a client who is a stay-at-home mom training for a half-marathon in October 2019. She’s limited in her ability to make it to the gym, but she is committed to performing well in the half-marathon. She’ll cross this off and she’ll be (as if she’s not already; she’s pretty amazing) one strong momma.
I have other clients that want to take trips, go see some sights, and stay active through retirement to enjoy their lives. They want to be healthy enough to cross things off their bucket list because they didn’t get to do them while they were working.
Tell me, what’s on your bucket list?