This year for me has been an interesting one when it comes to my fitness. For so many years I was an avid runner, I ran at least 3 times each week, belonged to running groups and participated in a wide range of running events. I identified myself as a ‘runner’. People would often meet me and say “I know you, you are that lady that is always running”.
Then early this year, I constantly was troubled with knee pain. I had to stop running.
I went into a spiral of despair; I couldn’t do what I loved. I sought advice from my Osteopath, my GP, a Sports Medicine doctor and an exercise physiologist. I was given the diagnosis of osteoarthritis. I was told to work on strengthening my knee and to take a break from running until I was pain free. I did everything I was told. I took that break and when pain free, tried running. But my knee became swollen straight away.
I was devastated. I wanted to run and I couldn’t. I was no longer a ‘runner’. I shed many tears of anger and frustration and gradually have learnt to accept that maybe I can’t run anymore. I haven’t totally given up as yet; I will try again one day soon.
I decided that if I couldn’t run, I would swim. This was short lived as then I injured my shoulder. So that means, no swimming either.
This lead to more frustration and anger and finally I have had to become okay with my injuries and limitations and I am doing everything to get my body strong again.
I don’t want to just stop exercising as I know that exercise keeps you young. It also has a huge impact on how you feel and your energy levels. I don’t want to grow old and frail. So I have kept doing as much exercise as I can within my limitations.
I regularly strength train and enjoy pilates and yoga. I just work around my limitations. Plus I actually have found that I am starting to enjoy walking; I get to see lots of things that I missed when I was running. Some days I am awestruck by the natural beauty of the Peninsula and feel so lucky to live where I do. Today was one of those days when I looked out over the cliffs at Mornington at the beautiful colours in the rocks and the amazing colours of the bay.
I know that I am not the only person who has injuries and who finds that exercise is no longer easy. I have learnt so much this year and from this I made the decision to develop a program for other ladies like me. For ladies that are older (over 55) who want to exercise but are scared and worried about getting started. It might just be that they have not exercised for a long time and they are frightened of getting started or they may be like me and have injuries or aches and pains that make moving a chore.
This program has been going for one month now and I have enjoyed working with this group of ladies. Each person is given exercises that are right for them and that will help them get stronger and hopefully alleviate some of their aches and pains. It is wonderful to see how each lady's confidence is growing and how quickly they are getting stronger.
This program gives people the chance to get moving again. It helps them to feel strong and healthy, so that they can get on and enjoy life. One of my new ladies joined our program because she wanted to be ‘prepared for old age’.
If you want to be prepared for old age too, then you might be interested in my top tips for keeping your body in the best shape as you age.
My top 10 tips are:
- Accept that you maybe can’t do what you did when you were in your 20’s and 30’s. But in accepting this it does not mean that you have to wrap yourself up in cotton wool and stay on the couch.
- Get up and get moving. The more sedentary you are, the stiffer and achier you will be. So just start with adding more movement into your day. Park further from the door of the supermarket, take the stairs instead of the elevator. Really just move more.
- It is super important to work on building your core strength as this helps to protect your joints. Not sure of which core exercises are for you, then come and have a chat and I can show you a few to start with.
- Work on your balance and flexibility. Balance is super important as poor balance can lead to falls and broken bones. This is why I love yoga as it helps with my balance and flexibility.
- When starting out start with basic strength exercises and work within your capabilities. Don’t do exercises just because someone else is doing them. Recognise that you and your body are unique.
- Exercise needs to be enjoyable. Find things that you enjoy and enlist the help of a friend to work out with or join a group class that is designed for more mature participants. Make sure that they will tailor the exercises to your needs and that you aren’t expected to do things just because it is on the program. If you would like to join our Fit and Fabulous over 55’s group, give me a call.
- Eat well. Make sure that you are eating a wide range of healthy and nutritious foods. Focus on good quality sources of protein including those high in Omega 3’s, wholegrains, calcium rich foods for strong bones and lots of vegetables and fruit for antioxidants.
- Go to bed on time and get into the habit of creating a bedtime ritual that helps you sleep well.
- Find a health care practitioner such as an Osteopath, Myotherapist or Physiotherapist to help when you get a little stiff or sore. Regular treatments are key to having your body working in tip top shape. I always work closely with client’s treating practitioners as this way we can help overcome any muscle weaknesses or compensations.
- Most importantly be proud of everything you do as every little step is helping you get stronger and fitter.
Being older doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun. Go out and enjoy getting fitter, stronger and healthier. If you need help or want to join a group of ladies around your age who love staying active, then send me an email and we can sort out a time to chat about our programs.