I workout at the gym to stay out of a nursing home as long as possible. I don’t do it to win competitions, I don’t even really like competing to be honest. Those aren’t my goals. And even though I have little desire, and certainly feel like I will never master some of the gymnastics movements in CrossFit, it is still very important to train those movements.
I know that’s probably now what you wanted to hear, but read further to see why.
Learning anything, including new skills, is valuable.
As adults, we don’t often take as much time to learn a new skill or craft. Learning is really great for our brains and our overall well-being though! We want to keep those neurons firing in our brains to keep us nice and sharp as we age. Learning can be more difficult as we age, but we should still work at it.
Ugh, science. But there is a lot of research out there showing that working out and learning new things goes hand in hand. Learning is an activity of the brain AND the entire body – so let’s put those two things together and learn new skills! Movement is hardwired into our system to trigger cognitive action. Without going into too much depth here, there are 3 areas of the brain that control movement – the first is for simple things like tapping your finger.
The second is for slightly more sophisticated things like reaching for an object. The third is a very intricate control center that controls complex, whole body movements – like snatching or muscle ups. Here’s the fun part – that isn’t all that area has evolved to do! That area also gives you discipline, will power, and attention span. So, working on higher skill, full body movements at the gym helps you keep other areas of your life in balance.
Even if you don’t master that particular movement, it helps with other movements.
If we are training for muscle ups we are likely training pull ups and dips – sounds logical right? So, maybe we never quite put it all together, but we certainly improve our strength and even coordination as we work on it. There is no way your pulls up and dips won’t improve if you are working on muscle ups!
You should do things that are hard and that you aren’t good at (yet.)
Sometimes struggling a bit can bring us some perspective. Being humbled once in awhile isn’t a bad thing. It reminds us to work hard for what we want and appreciate what we’ve got.
You may just surprise yourself!
Handstand push ups are a goal of mine. Handstand walks are not. It is just something that was ever on my list of things to accomplish. But once we started taking gymnastics classes, part of getting to handstand push ups was gaining strength by handstand walking. I still was hesitant and just never thought it was something I could do. Until I did it. I handstand walked! You never know, you may just surprise yourself with some of the things you can do.
Learning new things is great for us, especially as we age. It may not be fun in the moment. It may take us a bit longer than we think it should. But there is a lot of value to continuing to learn and grow!