How did you imagine you’d be living your life after 40? After 50? What about after 60? Medical advances mean that our life expectancy is longer than ever before, and when coupled with a healthy lifestyle, that means the average age of the folks getting their fitness on in the gym is increasing. And that’s great news! But how do we make sure we can stay involved and keep fit after fifty?
Enjoy this guest post by Elevate Group Fitness Instructor Diane Lowery. Then, at the end of the post, click the link to try your first class with Diane for FREE!
Do you remember disco balls? How about mood rings, leisure suits, and P.O.W. bracelets? Did you actually WATCH the first man walk on the moon?….in REAL time? Did you spend Saturday night watching Carol Burnett and The Mary Tyler Moore Show? How about Jackie Gleason and Ed Sullivan on Sunday nights? Well, my friend, if you can say yes to any of these memories, you are probably a baby boomer who is feeling the realities of an aging body.
Who would have thought the generations of kids who believed they would never grow old, actually….got old? Heck, we originated the idea of being young forever! I still secretively think I am in my 20’s until I look in the mirror or try jumping out of the car after a long trip…OUCH!! Why won’t these legs move like they used to?
Yes, “age is only a number” but that number can bring big changes when it comes to working out. I have been moving my body either playing sports (through high school, college, and adult leagues) or teaching fitness classes my entire life. This has been great fun and I have loved moving my body through the decades, but no one told me the price I would pay. The joints I depended on to help me jump, run, twist and turn would eventually turn on ME, leaving me with pain and stiffness.
How do we aging athletes and baby boomers gracefully enter this new stage of fitness? I have thought about this a lot and have experienced a variety of challenges and obstacles first hand. Fortunately, I have finally come to a happier place. I hope to continue moving my body, exercising, working out, and challenging myself for many years to come, but I have also found a need for caution and kindness.
I feel my body has served me well and now needs me to give it a little love. I have found that being kind to my changing body by changing my workout style has brought me to a much more peaceful place. No longer do I feel compelled to compete with the others around me to jump higher, move faster and work out better or longer. I no longer need to do the newest fitness fad. I don’t need to run a marathon or compete for the top spot on the fitness scorecard. I have had my run, so to speak. My body has served me well. I will choose to drop my risers OUT of my Step to save the remaining cartilage in my joints. I will feel free NOT pushing myself to take three classes in a row just to get ALL of my physical components met in one day. There is always tomorrow! I will not feel shame when taking a bit more time getting up from the floor to move on to another exercise. I will decrease my weights on my bar when my legs or arms are feeling a little tired or my joints have had too much fun dancing or stepping in Groove or Blast class the day before. I am content with a little more cushion around my middle knowing my muscles are probably stronger than many of the millennials pushing weights on the floor or in the cage.
Yes, I have “come a long way baby” (sorry, Virginia Slims of the 70s) from my younger, athletic self. I feel stronger and more fit today than I ever did when I was younger. I have time to work out every day if I choose. I no longer have to rush a workout to get home to kids. I don’t need to squeeze a frenzied workout in after an exhausting day at work. I can go to the gym to connect with friends and get a great workout while having fun. I like that aging has made me less serious, more relaxed, kinder to my body and much stronger…. inside and out!!
Get your first class FREE with Diane or any of our amazing Group Fitness Instructors at Elevate Fitness! And read Marketing Director Jason Jaquays-Tarbox’s take on the evolution of Group Fitness classes here!