On Life and Love after 50 Newsletter
by Tom Blake
Exercise: keep the body moving
Last week, I asked what Champs do to exercise. Today, we include what 10 women and five men do to keep fit.
Jessica, Oregon, "I'm 60 and weigh the same that I did at 18. The sand has shifted some though! Twice a week, I work out at a gym. I spend 30 minutes there and lift weights and use the elliptical machine. I still work full time that fortunately has a mix of walking and desk work. Five days a week, I use a 10-minute exercise DVD as part of my morning routine. I just move around a lot, everyday."
Noelle, "I've been going to 24-Hour Fitness for years; I consider it an addition to my health insurance. I work out with weights for at least two hours a session, usually four times a week.
"I'm 79; most people think I am in my 50s or 60s. I was an avid downhill skier until a few years ago and also love West Coast Swing dancing."
George, 75, "I live on the fourth floor. I walk up and down the stairs except when carrying loads of laundry or groceries or other heavy stuff, then it is the elevator. I walk every morning as well for local errands and chores. My car mostly sits in my garage. I do slant pushups against the kitchen counter."
Sheryl D., "I love to hike and it's a great way to keep in shape, in addition to meeting friends and my partner who I've been with for 12 years after meeting on a hike. Every weekend we go to the local mountains like Mt. Baldy, the Three T's, Cucamonga, Mt. Wilson and many other wonderful places to hike, which are an hour from our South Bay home (Southern California).
"My resting heart rate and blood pressure are low, and hiking keeps my body looking good for age 67. When I retire (I am a special education teacher like your Greta was), I hope to cycle again and to continue hiking."
Joan, "One or more of these every day: Pilates, Lindy Hop and other social dancing, Zumba and Zumba toning with weights, hiking or walking up and down hills in a park, burst exercises (high impact interval training) and swimming."
Gordon, Michigan, "For me, exercise includes exercising the mind, the soul, and the body.
"The mind: I have a hobby building radio controlled gliders/sailplanes. It requires me to problem solve while building and flying my models. An added benefit is social interaction with fellow fliers and friends. Many of our group started this hobby well after age 50 and retirement.
"The soul: "I love to fly fish for trout on area streams, rivers, and lakes. I refer to it as 'going to church' because the beauty of the water tends to be very spiritual to me. Wading in fast currents or just walking with bulky waders on is good physical exercise.
"The body: In the warmer months, I bicycle 2-30 miles a day, many days of the week. Bicycling does not over-stress your limbs and develops stamina. If you bicycle your local trails during the week, you will likely find the majority of riders are over age 50 and many are single.
"I have lost 25 pounds since April.
Merijoe, "Beachbody DVDs. They have a 10-minute DVD, a senior one, a full-hour one, some yoga ones, dance ones, just targeting your butt, and more. The latest is a 20-minute DVD: 'The 21-day fix.'
"I am also involved with a German Shepherd rescue group and get walked by the dogs every Saturday and more if I want. I walk in a nearby park that has stairs that I go up and down. At work, I walk in the parking lot on break. I do free weight lifting at home (good for the bones) and drink healthy juices."
John, 78, "I sold my car nine years ago. I go everywhere by walking, bicycle or public transportation. My bike has a small electric motor that helps with steep hills. In Europe and many foreign countries, people don't have autos, I have adapted to that lifestyle. I admit, however, that my wife does have a car, but I seldom ride in it, only out of necessity."
Chris, San Clemente, California, "My favorite: walking from North Beach along the Pacific Ocean to the end of the pier (about 1 1/4 mile each direction) sometimes to T-Street (another 3/4 mile). I also walk the new Marblehead trails. I love the beach and fulfilled my retirement dream by moving here when I recently retired.
"I shed 35 pounds, leading to more confidence and getting back into the dating arena. Met a nice gentleman on OurTime (Senior People Meet) and though it's too soon to tell where things might go, we're both having fun enjoying each other's company and I'm enjoying life."
Cheryl B., "I will be 57 on Monday, and have joined the YMCA near my house. They have classes for all energy levels and I'm glad to re-start my exercise routine. It's not easy getting back on track, but I am starting."
Note from Tom: Start slowly. I know of people who have been so eager to get their bodies moving again that they push too hard at the start and end up with sore knees and ankles.
Gena, "When I turned 65, I moved from Lansing (Michigan) into a very old farmhouse near a quiet village. Taking care of a large garden and a few laying hens is pretty good physical exercise, and writing provides a good share of my mental exercise.
"At age 74, I joined a line-dancing group at the local senior center, where the other dancers are about ten years younger than I, and have been dancing three mornings a week (two hour sessions, we take no break) for six years. Good exercise and camaraderie. Benefits: reduces stress, and helps with flexibility, balance, weight control, rhythm, and best of all, lots of fun, with much laughter."
Cheryl, "I take an exercise class for an hour four mornings a week, and take walks whenever I can. I balance my diet with big, healthy salads, almond milk, and almond butter on whole wheat bread, nuts and seeds. I am slim and in good shape. Last year, I had two surgeries--one on my rotator cuff, and one on my foot. Am regaining my strength very well, and going to physical therapy and messages."
Doug, "Before I retired, I got stuck in a desk job for the last few years and found I was gaining weight as well as getting tired too quickly when climbing stairs or hiking. I joined a gym that was on my way home from work so I could stop for a quick evening workout. I have kept my gym membership but only work out three times a week. Those workouts keep my weight in balance, keeps me alert, and I no longer puff on stairs or while hiking."
In our household, Greta does water aerobics three mornings a week for an hour, and tai chi twice a week. Tom does stand up paddle boarding four to five times a week in Dana Point Harbor. We also walk together in the neighborhood one to two times a week.
Hopefully, these stories from our Champs, mostly in their 60s and 70s, will inspire other Champs who need a nudge to get the body moving. We all know how important exercise is for us, and hopefully these comments will inspire all of us to get moving a bit more. Not to mention that exercise is a great way to lose weight, as we've heard today also. Also, social interaction is important and some of the exercise routines described result in that as well.
Lots of Champs have dogs. Walking them is good for the dog and for exercise, and it is a good way to meet people, maybe even a potential mate or two.
Remember, start slowly, but make exercise a top priority. The important thing: keep the body moving, as Champ Jessica stated.