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Can words inspire us? Yes, they can.
Most of us remember a few statements -- maybe something our mother or father said; perhaps a wise teacher gave you some advice; maybe you can still recite a poem that always was special to you; last but not least, maybe a speech from an inspiring leader remains in your memory bank.
They stay with us if they are meaningful or if they make us laugh. Collected here are some quotations about aging and fitness that might inspire you.
Words from Astronauts, Doctors, and Scientists
“Too many people, when they get old, think that they have to live by the calendar.” (John Glenn)
“I have reached an age when, if someone tells me to wear socks, I don’t have to.” (Einstein)
“The way you think, the way you behave, the way you eat, can influence your life by 30 to 50 years.” (Deepak Chopra)
A little science is something that [my nephews] must have. I should like [them ] to know what air is, and water; why we breathe, and why wood burns; the nutritive elements essential to plant life, and the constituents of the soil. And it is no vague and imperfect knowledge from hearsay I would have them gain of these fundamental truths, on which depend agriculture and the industrial arts and our health itself; I would have them know these things thoroughly from their own observation and experience. Books here are insufficient, and can serve merely as aids to scientific experiment." (Jean Henri Fabre)
"I don't want to believe. I want to know." (Carl Sagan)
Thoughts from Philosophers
“Even when all is known, the care of a man is not yet complete, because eating alone will not keep a man well; he must also take exercise. For food and exercise, while possessing opposite qualities, yet work together to produce health.” (Hippocrates)
"If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health." (Hippocrates)
"For you may rest assured that there is no kind of struggle, apart from war, and no undertaking in which you will be worse off by keeping your body in better fettle. For in everything that men do the body is useful; and in all uses of the body it is of great importance to be in as high a state of physical efficiency as possible. Why, even in the process of thinking, in which the use of the body seems to be reduced to a minimum, it is matter of common knowledge that grave mistakes may often be traced to bad health. And because the body is in a bad condition, loss of memory, depression, discontent, insanity often assail the mind so violently as to drive whatever knowledge it contains clean out of it. But a sound and healthy body is a strong protection to a man, and at least there is no danger then of such a calamity happening to him through physical weakness: on the contrary, it is likely that his sound condition will serve to produce effects the opposite of those that arise from bad condition. And surely a man of sense would submit to anything to obtain the effects that are the opposite of those mentioned in my list.Besides, it is a disgrace to grow old through sheer carelessness before seeing what manner of man you may become by developing your bodily strength and beauty to their highest limit. But you cannot see that, if you are careless; for it will not come of its own accord." (Socrates, speaking to a young soldier)
"Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it." (Plato)
"That is better which is inherent in things better or prior or more honourable: thus health is better than strength and beauty." (Aristotle)
Thoughts from Authors, Poets, and Musicians
“The wiser mind mourns less for what age takes away than what it leaves behind.” (William Wordsworth)
“Do not try to live forever, you will not succeed.” (George Bernard Shaw)
“Old age hath yet his honour and his toil.”> (Alfred Lord Tennyson)
“Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be.” (Robert Browning)
“It’s not that some people have willpower and some don’t. It’s that some people are ready to change and some are not.” (Carl Sandburg)
"Exercise is labor without weariness." (Samuel Johnson)
"Few people know how to take a walk. The qualifications are endurance, plain clothes, old shoes, an eye for nature, good humor, vast curiosity, good speech, good silence and nothing too much." (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
"If you are pining for youth I think it produces a stereotypical old man because you only live in memory, you live in a place that doesn’t exist. Aging is an extraordinary process where you become the person you always should have been. (David Bowie)
"When it comes to aging, we’re held to a different standard than men. Some guy said to me: ‘Don’t you think you’re too old to sing rock n’ roll?’ I said: ‘You’d better check with Mick Jagger.'" (Cher)
“How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live! Methinks that the moment my legs begin to move my thoughts begin to flow...A thousand rills which have their rise in the sources of thought burst forth and fertilize my brain…Only while we are in action is the circulation perfect. The writing which consists with habitual sitting is mechanical wooden dull to read.” (Thoreau)
“We do not 'have' a body in the way we carry a knife in a sheath. Neither is the body a body that merely accompanies us and which we can establish, expressly or not, as also present-at-hand. We do not 'have' a body rather, we 'are' bodily.” (Martin Heidegger)
“Since the savage man’s body is the only instrument he knows, he employs it for a variety of purposes that, for lack of practice, ours are incapable of serving. And our industry deprives us of the force and agility that necessarily obliges him to acquire. If he had had an axe, would his wrists break such strong branches? If he had had a sling, would he throw a stone with so much force? If he had had a horse, would he run so fast? Give a civilized man time to gather all his machines around him, and undoubtedly he will easily overcome a savage man. But if you want to see an even more unequal fight, pit them against each other naked and disarmed, and you will soon realize the advantage of constantly having all of one’s forces at one’s disposal, of always being ready for any event, and of always carrying one’s entire self, as it were, with one.” (Rousseau)
Anonymous Comments (sometimes they are the best!)
“The only bad workout is the one that didn’t happen.”
“Exercise is a celebration of what your body can do. Not a punishment for what you ate.”
“Once you see results, it becomes an addiction.”
“Today I will love myself enough to exercise.”
Finally, just great quotes!
- “Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our politcal and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.” (Asimov)
I am a BCRPA-certified fitness instructor in Vancouver, BC. I teach four classes at the West End Community Centre in Vancouver, BC, mostly designed for the older adult. The Inevitable Disclaimer: Everything published here expresses only my opinion, based on my training and research. What you do with the information is entirely your own responsibility. I am not liable for any injury you suffer that seems to be related to anything you read here. Always consult your doctor before beginning an exercise program. For other articles, return to the table of contents.
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