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!