#ActiveApril Health & Wellness

How I regained my fitness After 50

March 31, 2019
regaining my fitness over 50

It is #ActiveApril at Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond and it would be remiss of me not to share my own story with you. Many of you have commented on how fit I am and yes I am fit but it wasn’t always that way. I wanted to share my own fitness and health journey with you so that you can see that I too have struggled with weight, body image and fitness issues over the years.

Growing Up, Motherhood and Life Changes

As a child although I did Ballet, Tap, Jazz and Highland Dancing I was not built for the stage. I was chubby and I always thought I was overweight. Although I look back at photos now of my late teens I realise that I was the ideal weight. Of course, we don’t see that in ourselves and I certainly didn’t feel that I could live up to the image projected in the magazines.

I was active as a child and without a car we walked everywhere. In late high school, I opened my own dance studio which I continued up until my second child was about 4 years old. I was fit and healthy. I was also fortunate that with both of my children, I never gained weight.

During my late 20s and 30s my life had some emotional times with the loss of both my parents to cancer in their early to mid 60s. I experienced upheaval with moving to a new state, divorce and then remarriage combined with a blended family.

This was the time that I started to lose my motivation for fitness and fell into a rut and the kilos started to creep on. Sure I dabbled with exercise but not seriously and not consistently. I felt frumpy and uncomfortable.

So what changed?

Just before I turned 50, I worked with some girls who were almost young enough to be my daughters.  The wonderful thing was they never thought of me as an older person but as Sue, the individual.  They encouraged me to start running and booked me into Bootcamp three times a week. 

When I reminded them that I was old enough to be their mother, they wouldn’t accept it!  So off to bootcamp and running training I went. When I first started bootcamp apart from being the oldest by about 15 years, I couldn’t do two pushups but by the end of the six weeks I could do 20 and I won the Most Improved Award!

When I first started running I could only run the distance between two lamp posts. Each week I would be able to run further until eventually I could run the full distance with them. We entered a 10km fun run and I was ecstatic to finish it and run the whole way.

At 55 and more recently at 60, I ran two full marathons- that is 42.2kms by the way, and I have the beautiful girls I worked with back then to thank for having the confidence in my ability and not accepting excuses such as ‘I’m too old’.

Fitness in my 50s

For the last 8 years I have been running with friends I met through my daughter. As the Saturday Sisters we run twice a week. Each year we enter fun runs to work towards and are currently working towards a half marathon in June.

Through a short membership at a gym I met a wonderful personal trainer who really helped both my husband and I become fitter and healthier. After leaving the gym we continued to work out with her three times a week in the park and I just loved it.

About 18 months ago our P.T. decided to change careers so I continued my running and started yoga. However, without the accountability to a personal trainer my strength training fell by the wayside.

A Wake Up Call

Back in December last year I had a health scare and found that although I was fit I was not immune to my genetic makeup. After visiting a cardiologist he advised a change of diet, more in line with the Mediteranean Diet of more fish, vegetables, nuts and seeds and less red meat.

I changed my diet with a few tweaks and then discovered Peta Gillian from Strong Healthy Women. I have been following her videos and working out to them three times a week in addition to my running and yoga. I recently joined her paid online membership and now have my motivator, Peta, to guide me. The membership cost is certainly not prohibitive although one could ask the question:

‘What value to you place on your health and well-being?

I’ve just been back for my 3 month check up with the cardio and am proud to say that my LDL (often referred to as ‘bad’ cholesterol) has decreased from 2.5 to 0.8. He was very impressed and I’m happy to report that I no longer need my blood pressure medication.

My reduced LDL reading was through a combination exercise, tweaking my diet and a very low dose medication

Sizzling in my 60s

So at almost 62 I can say that I’m fitter, healthier and happier than I have ever been. Another health benefit has been giving up alcohol. My husband took the step one year ago to stop drinking and I joined him as a support. I haven’t missed it as much as I thought I would and my skin and blood tests show that it was certainly worth it.

It’s Never Too Late

I do believe that we can make positive changes in our life at any stage and it is definitely never too late to start.

So join me for #ActiveApril and let’s Get Active and Feel Alive. You can print off the resources you will need for the month and also get all the information for #ACTIVEAPRIL – WEEK 1 HERE

If you missed the details of #ActiveApril you can read about it HERE.

Let’s be Cheerleaders for each other and support each other in being fit, healthy and happy.

Don’t forget to check in and share your progress. There will be wins and struggles but it will be worth it!




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71 Comments

  • Reply Jennifer Jones March 31, 2019 at 18:06

    Great to read your story Sue. We all have our stumbling blocks to cope with from time to time. Life is never perfect all the time. Thanks for sharing your life experiences

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 1, 2019 at 16:29

      Thanks Jen, I wasn’t sure about writing it but sometimes you have to show that you’ve ‘been there’ too. No life is perfect that is for sure. x

  • Reply Debbie March 31, 2019 at 18:43

    This is so good to read your story Sue. I knew bits of it but to see it all together is very inspiring and so helpful. Thanks so much for your efforts and encouragement, you are a true champion 🙂

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 1, 2019 at 16:31

      Thank you, Deb. I’m very lucky to have you as a friend. It was a difficult decision to go down the path of sharing my story. I do think though that it helps others to realise that I haven’t always been fit and healthy and if I can do it, so can they. 🙂

  • Reply Miriam March 31, 2019 at 19:51

    You’re so incredibly inspiring Sue and absolute proof that we can all make changes to improve our health and fitness at any age. Thanks for sharing your story and for always being a great role model for an active life. Hope you have a great month ahead.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 1, 2019 at 16:32

      Such beautiful words thank you Miriam and I feel truly humbled. I’m no better than the next person but I am passionate about always trying to be the best I can be and to lead by example. I feel very fulfilled if I’ve helped someone to achieve their goals. Have a wonderful April, my friend. x

  • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au March 31, 2019 at 22:00

    I can’t believe you haven’t always been this amazingly fit and fabulous woman Sue! You still looked wonderful before you started the running etc, but it has certainly honed you into the woman you are today. Interesting that running took time to build up and didn’t come to you as easily as I assumed. Great seeing all the pics too x

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 1, 2019 at 16:36

      I didn’t mention either that I hated PT at school. I was always trying to be at the end of the line so I wouldn’t have to do anything. I certainly wasn’t athletic in any way and surprised myself when I did the Bootcamp all those years later. I wonder what my High School PT teacher would have thought 🙂

      • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au April 3, 2019 at 12:29

        I find it so amazing that you’ve come so far Sue – I always assumed that the ballet teacher thing meant you loved fitness and exercise. You inspire me more every time I think about how much you’ve achieved.
        Thanks for co-hosting again with me this week and I’ve shared this on my SM xx

        • Reply Sue Loncaric April 7, 2019 at 08:53

          Thanks Leanne. I was never built to be a ballet dancer, too short and round but I loved teaching it. I did go off the rails a bit but I’ve proven now that it is never too late to make changes. You are doing that with your Tai Chi and Gentle Gym. x

  • Reply Heidi Love March 31, 2019 at 22:05

    I love your story. Thanks for the incentive and encouragement! I did some major sailing for five of the last eight years and was in great shape. Now that I’m back on land, writing, and in a cold climate, I’ve been less active. Spring is the perfect time for me to get in better shape. I’m in!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 1, 2019 at 16:39

      Welcome Heidi and it is lovely to have you visit my blog. I have another blogging friend, Nancy from Defining Third Age who loves sailing and is about to embark on another trip with her husband. You should look her up. Glad to have you join me for #ActiveApril. We are in Autumn where I live in Australia but the temperatures where I live are very mild. We have hot and humid Summers and I’m happy to see the end of Summer 🙂

  • Reply Candi Randolph April 1, 2019 at 00:08

    I loved reading more about you and your history, Sue, it makes me admire you even more for all that you have accomplished in your life. You’re right…you are never too old to learn, and to start, something new. xo

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 1, 2019 at 16:41

      Thank you Candi for your lovely words. I don’t really think I’ve done anything special but I have been there with weight and health issues. I wanted to share my story so that my readers understand that I know where they are coming from. xx

  • Reply Janis April 1, 2019 at 00:46

    I loved reading about your journey to fitness. Although I am slim and exercise (although not like you), my recent cholesterol levels were worrisome. I have committed myself to making some needed dietary changes and hope that my results will be as positive as yours.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 1, 2019 at 16:42

      Thanks Janis! I wasn’t sure about writing it actually but it was good to show that I haven’t always been as fit as I am now and that it is never too late. Good luck with the dietary changes. Do you have a family history of cholesterol problems and heart disease? That was my issue which is now under control thank goodness. x

  • Reply Retirement Reflections April 1, 2019 at 08:08

    Hi, Sue – Your words are so true! We CAN make positive changes in our life at ANY stage and it is definitely NEVER too late to start. You are an excellent model of this, and a real inspiration!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 1, 2019 at 16:47

      Thank you Donna! I strive to inspire others even though I haven’t really done anything more than what they are capable of doing. Thank you for your kind words and friendship. xx

  • Reply Janet Mary Cobb April 1, 2019 at 12:46

    Sue – thanks for sharing your journey. I’ve always been pretty healthy and never too heavy or too thin. But once I hit about 45 things shifted and unless I pay attention, I can easily fall into sedentary, unhealthy habits. Your blog has been a great reminder to stay active. Thanks!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 1, 2019 at 16:50

      Thanks Janet. Yes I think around the mid 40s things do change and we have to do just that little bit more to keep our health under control. I’m looking forward to your self-care AtoZ Challenge. x

  • Reply Samantha Smith April 1, 2019 at 17:25

    Great to read your story Sue. You are inspirational, fantastic!!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 2, 2019 at 05:16

      Thanks Sam, I actually felt quite vulnerable sharing with everyone but I wanted readers to realise I’ve struggled too and we can do anything if we put our mind to it. x

  • Reply Aman April 1, 2019 at 18:18

    This inspires me to get about and move around even more.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 2, 2019 at 05:16

      I’m so pleased Aman that you feel inspired to be more active. Hope you enjoy #ActiveApril with me. Have a beautiful day. x

  • Reply Joanne Tracey April 2, 2019 at 18:59

    I think that’s the first time I’ve heard your story – so thanks for sharing it. You know how inspirational I think that you are, but it was great reading the background. xxx

  • Reply Nancy Dobbins April 2, 2019 at 22:50

    Hi Sue,
    I knew what you had shared of your recent challenges, but it is so inspiring to learn about your journey along the way.
    Our genetics play a role, certainly, but they are not necessarily our destiny. We can impact our health for good or ill by our choices…and your choices are making you wonderful and fit.
    I wish I could give up my beer…but just love it. A remaining vice.

  • Reply Pat April 3, 2019 at 04:08

    Sue, It was interesting to hear your history. I’ve never been an exerciser. When I was a child, I had a heart condition that at the time they believed meant I should not run or exert myself. So I wasn’t allowed to take dance class or participate in sports. Piano and reading were encouraged. Many years later, they revised the recommendations, but by then lifelong habits were formed. I didn’t have any exercise routine until I retired. Now I do yoga and zumba regularly. I try and walk at least 1-2 times a week for 1-4 miles each time. I’m not sure I could devote myself to the gym/training like you do. But I admire women who do!

  • Reply Natalie April 3, 2019 at 06:54

    Hi Sue – So great to read your story and accomplishments. I totally agree with you that it’s never too late to make positive changes, especially for our health and well-being. Here’s to an enjoyable #ActiveApril! #MLSTL

  • Reply Lydia C. Lee April 3, 2019 at 07:34

    Great post! I’m working on my fitness, in part for energy, in part for body shape and in part because my bones feel fragile….#MLSTL

  • Reply Min @ Write of the Middle April 3, 2019 at 08:34

    You’re amazing Sue. I don’t think you looked fat in any of the photos but you sure are leaner these days. I have tried to be a runner but it didn’t work for me. My body did not cooperate. I am a brisk walker instead! I really enjoyed reading your story. Thanks so much for sharing it with us! xo

  • Reply Terri Webster Schrandt April 3, 2019 at 09:17

    Sue, you are one inspiring woman! I’m glad you got your health sorted out. Surprising to hear about cholesterol and BP affecting you with all your physical activity! I had to start WW to get my numbers down, exercise alone did not help me, but I refuse to go on statins. Every time I write more into my fitness book, I think of you and your stories and inspiration, as well as all the writing you do to promote midlife+ fitness. In fact I’m posting a fitness article this Friday and will ping back to you and #active April! #MLSTL

  • Reply Patrick Weseman April 3, 2019 at 11:08

    Beautiful post. I am trying to eat a lot more salad at lunch and trying to stay away from candy, ice cream and things like that. It is has been a change for me, trying to break all of the old habits. #MLSTL

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 7, 2019 at 08:56

      Hi Patrick, yes breaking old habits is very difficult but taking baby steps and making small changes is a great start. Have a great week and thanks for joining in at #MLSTL.

  • Reply Christine April 3, 2019 at 11:21

    Hi Sue, I want to thank you for making yourself vulnerable to us, I know it can’t be easy, but I loved hearing your life story and the fact that you are your authentic self. I can identify with hating PT when you were at school and trying to avoid it, I used to dread it!
    Reading about your journey to fitness is so encouraging to me as I used to be very slim and trim but over the years especially through menopause gaining the extra weight and making several attempts to become fit and trim, it all seems too hard but reading your journey really encourages me to make a serious start, and keep it going! This is where your Life Coaching is invaluable to me , you are my support and inspiration. Thank you for making a difference in our lives through being real. Xx

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 7, 2019 at 08:55

      Thank you for your beautiful words, Christine and I love working with you. I have seen you grow over the few months we have been working together and seen your confidence soar. Sometimes we just need someone to talk through our ideas with and then we feel empowered to take the steps to fly. Have a beautiful week and thank you again for your testimonial which I truly appreciate.

  • Reply Christine April 3, 2019 at 12:08

    Look at you go! Well done you. Pleased you got your reading back under control.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 7, 2019 at 08:53

      Thanks Christine! The cardiologist and I were both pretty pumped with the results. x

  • Reply Theresa Muth April 3, 2019 at 12:13

    I love this story-you are so inspirational! I will follow you, but the whole giving up the alcohol thing may be difficult
    Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 7, 2019 at 08:51

      Hi Theresa, I think for my husband it was a case of having to give it up. He was really drinking too much on a daily basis. Once he made the decision and found the support he hasn’t looked back. It isn’t easy but even if you can just reduce the amount and have alcohol free days that is a good start. x

  • Reply Retirement Reflections April 3, 2019 at 13:22

    So inspiring!
    Shared on my Social Media. #MLSTL

  • Reply Denyse Whelan April 3, 2019 at 15:39

    Thank you so much for sharing your backstory with such honesty and vulnerability. Go you. Well-done. How gratifying it must be to get those medical test results and know those changes/tweaks by you made such a difference. Not everyone knows that alcohol consumption over time is a risk factor for head and neck cancer. It “makes sense” as it is something we drink. I have been fortunate to never want to smoke nor drink and it puzzles my surgeon why i ever got this rare cancer of mine!!
    Denyse #mlstl

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 7, 2019 at 08:49

      I was very pumped to receive the results Denyse and so was my Cardiologist. It just shows what a little tweaking to our lifestyle can do to make an impact. I didn’t realise that alcohol is a risk factor. I’ve never smoked and only drank in moderation but I wanted to support Mike and he has done so well, I’m very proud of him. My parents and brother didn’t smoke or drink but they all died from some form of cancer. Yet you see others who are the opposite and they live to old age. It is fate I believe. x

  • Reply Johanna Castro April 3, 2019 at 16:15

    Awesome Sue. You are as ever, an inspiration. I loved reading more of your story and fully support what you’ve done, but realise it takes time, energy, commitment and more commitment. I’m not quite there yet. #MLSTL and Shared on SM

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 7, 2019 at 08:46

      Thank you, Jo! It is hard not to compare ourselves with others but you are doing what is right for you and that is the main thing. You always look so stylish and happy so I think you are doing brilliantly. Have a fabulous week and thanks for participating in #MLSTL. x

  • Reply Trisha Faye April 3, 2019 at 22:32

    Thanks for sharing your story with us! It’s funny, but when we ‘meet’ someone at one stage in their life, I think we tend to assume that they’ve always been like the person we meet. Sometimes its nice to see that its not necessarily true and that its take work, dedication, and determination to progress to the point that we see.
    Sharing for MLSTL

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 7, 2019 at 08:45

      Hi Trisha you are right about the assumptions we make. It really just dawned on me that I had never really explained my fitness journey and people only see me now and think I’ve always been that way. I needed to show that yes, I understand because I’ve been there. Thanks for sharing and have a great day!

  • Reply Jennifer April 3, 2019 at 22:37

    I followed your link to the Active April post and commented there about loving all your old pictures!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 7, 2019 at 08:41

      Thanks Jennifer, it was fun looking back as myself as a child.

  • Reply Amy April 4, 2019 at 00:00

    You are amazing! Such an inspiration!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 7, 2019 at 08:41

      Thank you, Amy! We are all amazing Women in our own right. x

  • Reply Bren Pace April 4, 2019 at 00:19

    Oh my gosh, Sue. I totally admire what you have done and are doing. Truly an inspiration to all of us! I guess it helped having some young wipper snappers to kick you into gear, no? You are amazing so keep up the good work and keep inspiring others!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 7, 2019 at 08:39

      Hi Bren, yes it was great to have the younger ones accept me for who I was and took no excuses from me about age. Thank you for your kind words and have a beautiful weekend. x

  • Reply Agnes April 4, 2019 at 04:15

    Thank you for sharing, Sue! and thank you for #ActiveApril ! I printed off your food log and that sort of accountability is exactly what keeps me on the straight and narrow… even though no one sees it except me. A lot of fitness activities are no longer available to me due to a painfully unreliable knee, so I work to keep my walking and general movement up. My dog helps with that and, as of April 1, I have my 9 year old grandson for before- and after-school care. He loves walking and adventuring more than being on a “device” so I’m planning on being back to a healthier me by Summer (North America-style)!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 7, 2019 at 08:38

      Hi Agnes so glad you like the concept of #ActiveApril. Any sort of movement is better than nothing and isn’t it wonderful that your grandson prefers going on adventures rather than being online. Take your time so you don’t aggravate your knee and you will certainly achieve results. x

  • Reply Christie Hawkes April 4, 2019 at 08:05

    I really enjoyed your inspirational fitness story, Sue. Congratulations on your great health check! #MLSTL

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 7, 2019 at 08:34

      Thanks Christie, I was very pumped to see that my LDL readings were so low. It has motivated me to keep going. x

  • Reply Jen Abel April 4, 2019 at 11:55

    What a great read and thank you for sharing more about yourself.
    You are doing healthy aging beautifully.
    Age is no excuse or barrier if you have the right mindset, yours is amazing.
    Well done Sue

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 7, 2019 at 08:31

      Thank you Jen for your beautiful words. You are an inspiration with your health and fitness journey that is for sure. x

  • Reply Michele April 4, 2019 at 13:00

    Thank you for sharing your story Sue. You look fantastic and obviously have good health and energy! You inspire me. I am going to be 60 this year and want to start my sixties in better health. I am working hard to lose the weight I gained in my fifties. I am doing well but have a way to go!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 7, 2019 at 08:31

      Hi Michele, I felt a little vulnerable sharing but I wanted to show others that we can make changes to improve our lives. As long as you are ‘doing’ that is the main thing. It is more about lifestyle changes which are long term rather than quick fix ideas. Have a great weekend and thanks for stopping by. x

  • Reply Leslie Susan Clingan April 6, 2019 at 11:06

    Thank you for sharing your experiences with fitness and health. You are so fortunate to have the Saturday sisters. I wish I could find someone in my neighborhood to run with.

    I am sure your health scare last year was troubling but you used it to make improvements to your health. PC and I really drink very little and could probably give it up completely but I sure enjoy a cold beer now and then. You are a wonderful example to all of us.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 7, 2019 at 08:24

      I felt a little vulnerable sharing everything especially the photos but I felt it was important. Having the Saturday Sisters and lately running with my daughter certainly helps. Maybe you could find someone who will at least walk with you and then you can talk them into running 🙂

  • Reply Deborah April 6, 2019 at 14:15

    You are such an inspiration!!!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 7, 2019 at 08:19

      Oh thanks, Deb. I’ve been so busy with my #ActiveApril and also we have sold my MILs home and are moving in a week. It is all happening! x

  • Reply Penny Struebig April 6, 2019 at 22:07

    What a great story! Thanks for sharing it. I’ve let the pounds slowly creep in my body and it’s time to take them off. This helps me get motivated to do that!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 7, 2019 at 09:01

      Hi Penny, it is so easy for us to get caught up in life and the pounds do creep on when we don’t really notice. I’m so pleased you feel motivated. Why not come and join me in the Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond – Let’s Thrive Facebook Group. We have a very supportive community keen to Thrive Over 50, Get Active & Feel Alive.

  • Reply Pamela April 7, 2019 at 06:19

    Thanks for sharing your story – it’s fascinating and inspiring. I always thought I was chubby as a child also, but when looking back at photos I was fine. I never ran or exercised in my 20s or 30s, but began to run in my 40s and continued through my mid-50s for the fitness, the fun, and the emotional help running gave me. But, my knees began to hurt. So I am now a full-fledged walker and yoga enthusiast and attend an amazing dance class twice a week. It feels SO good to be fit at our age (60s), doesn’t it!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 7, 2019 at 08:17

      It feels fabulous to be fit at our age Pamela and I would love to get back into dance class. A number of woman have mentioned they are taking dance classes and I know I would enjoy it. I’m currently in the process of moving but once I settle into my new home I’m going to investigate some classes nearby. Have a lovely day and thanks so much for stopping by. xx

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