#ActiveApril Health & Wellness

Keeping Fit at the Senior Cits

April 7, 2019
Keeping Fit Over 50

I’M BASICALLY A BIT OF A SLUGGARD

Before we start talking about being active, I have a confession to make. Unlike Sue (the Queen of Fitness), I’m a bit of a lay-about. There’s nothing I enjoy more than a sleep-in, time on my laptop, reading a good book, colouring, jigsaws, and coffee with friends. If you look carefully at that list, all of them involve sitting on my bottom and very little movement (other than lifting my coffee cup or turning a page).

I realized several years ago that Midlife means I can’t maintain that very pleasant routine without adding weight. Unfortunately, my Midlife metabolism isn’t as robust as it was in my younger days. So, with that in mind I started a morning walk routine where I do a lap of the neighbourhood (about 2.5km) each day and have maintained that for six or seven years now, but I was still losing the battle and the occasional kilogram would creep on.

TAKING IT UP A NOTCH

18 months ago I bought a Fitbit and that was another wake-up call. Even with my noble efforts of a morning walk, I was only doing around 5,000 steps a day! I was sure I was doing at least 10,000 steps and it was rather disheartening to see how few I was actually achieving – no wonder my pants were getting tighter!

The next step was to take it up a notch, and that involved adding in an evening walk with my husband. We go for a stroll for a couple of kilometres each night before or after tea (depending on his schedule) and chat about our day, enjoy the down time, and generally connect on a pleasant level while my Fitbit takes me closer to 8,000 steps (my goal for the day that gives me a little fireworks display on the readout and a bit of a boost). I gave up on 10,000 steps because it was disheartening to never achieve it.

FINDING THE SENIOR CITS

We have a very nice Senior Citizens’ Centre about 5 minutes’ drive from our house and I’ve ignored it for all the time we’ve lived here – because we all know that a Senior Cits’ Centre is for “old people” don’t we? Well things changed one day when I decided I’d like to try Tai Chi again (I’d done it years ago and missed the Zen feeling). When I googled around to see what was available, Lo and behold! The only class anywhere near me was at the local Senior Cits!

That was such a disappointment because I couldn’t possibly be “old” enough to go there could I? After a bit of thought, I gave them a call and told them I was over 55 and did that qualify me? Well! It turns out you qualify as a Senior Citizen for using the centre if you’re over 50! And the icing on the cake is that classes are a measly $3 each for an hour! I was sold and ready to sign up!

TAI CHI

Tai Chi

My first foray into Senior Cits Land was to take that Tai Chi class, and I absolutely loved it. The instructor was great and there are at least 35 other ladies (and a couple of blokes) who turn up each week. They were encouraging, non-competitive, and not a designer sportswear outfit to be seen. A lot of them are in their 70’s, but they’re fit, and active, and fun to be around.

I was fairly useless to start with, but I wanted to do something that kept me active and flexible and helped my co-ordination, and Tai Chi did all that and more. I come away from each $3 class with a sense of accomplishment, and I’m actually getting quite competent at all 140 moves (as long as I can see the instructor to follow along). Since then, I’ve talked my sister-in-law and a friend into coming and they’re both hooked too.

“GENTLE GYM”

Now I’m newly retired/unemployed/figuring out what to do with my time, I decided to check out what else was on offer at the Centre. I considered Boot Scooting but my rhythm leaves a lot to be desired and I was a bit worried about tripping over my own feet. Next on the list was “Gentle Gym” and I thought I’d give that a try (although I was worried it would involve sitting on a chair and waving my arms around a bit – not exactly my idea of burning calories!)

Well, I was in for another surprise (shock) these classes aren’t for the decrepit and elderly, oh no! The instructor is a Personal Trainer who runs Boot Camps and Cardio classes at the gym and comes along to do these classes in her spare time – and she makes us move! There’s some great 80’s music and a few resounding classical tunes (Ode to Joy) and we do.not.stop! There’s lots of marching on the spot, walking, we bring and use weights, and I’m having to think really hard to keep up with the routines that change each week. Once again, there’s plenty of 70 year olds there and they’ve been going for years and are inspiring me to keep up the pace and keep attending each week.

SO WHAT KEEPS ME ACTIVE?

First – walking, second – Tai Chi, and third – Gentle Gym. None of these cost me much money, which is important to a frugalista like myself. I heard that the local Pilates classes are $35 a session – that’s never going to happen for me and my bank account! But, $3 for a class and walking for free means I can stay active and have fun without it breaking the bank. It also still leaves me plenty of time to read those books and drink those cups of coffee with friends (not to mention all the time I spend blogging!)

Meet Leanne

Leanne lives in the beautiful SW of Western Australia. She has two adult children who have grown and flown, married and settled in the city. Her empty nest consolation prize is two delightful grandgirls to keep her young and on her toes.

Other than that, she spends way too much of her spare time blogging about the highlights of Midlife at Cresting the Hill and shares the rest of her leisure time with her husband and two cats.


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49 Comments

  • Reply Debbie April 7, 2019 at 19:16

    So good to read Leanne’s story here!! It all sounds very gentle and reasonably priced which is a consideration these days. Great to hear the routines of others. Thanks for sharing Sue and Leanne.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 8, 2019 at 11:47

      Hi Deb, I love that Leanne has embraced Tai Chi and now Gentle Gym. I knew she walked but now she is mixing it up and variety is the ‘spice of life’ as we say. I’m excited to be bringing guests to share how they stay active and as usual we all have different and interesting ways so I’m learning as well. I’m going to try Tai Chi when I move to the Coast as there is one nearby. It is also amazing what the Senior Citz has on offer and low prices. Have a great week! x

    • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au April 8, 2019 at 18:01

      Hi Deb – I thought my gradual improvement in the fitness stakes almost gave me permission to be included in Sue’s Active April guest list 🙂

  • Reply Candi Randolph April 8, 2019 at 05:35

    I’m in the 8,000-steps-a-day club too, Leanne, and it was a bit of a shock to me when I found how few steps I would get in with one walk per day. Now that our weather is finally warming up in the Midwest I’m thrilled to be able to be outside and adding onto my daily step goal. I usually do a dance workout in the morning (with the blinds tightly closed) and that gets me about 2,500 steps plus some cardio. You are so right..it gets more challenging every year, to stay in shape and not gain weight as we age. The classes you’re taking sound like a lot of fun!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 8, 2019 at 11:50

      Hi Candi it can be hard to reach the 10,000 steps. I know I was doing ‘Steptember’ and would end some days just walking around the living room to make up the steps. My running helps to lift the numbers but that isn’t every day. I love the idea of dance as an exercise and as you know I was involved in the dance world for many years. You and I think very much alike when it comes to fitness and keeping active. Have a great week and Leanne is always a lovely guest to contribute to my blog. x

    • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au April 8, 2019 at 18:03

      Hi Candi – I am pitifully awful at anything that involves movement and music – even doing the gym routines to music is challenging – so your morning dance sessions have my utmost admiration! Also nice to see that I’m not alone in finding 8,000 steps a do-able goal.

  • Reply Natalie April 8, 2019 at 07:20

    It’s great that you’re doing what works for you to stay fit, Leanne. The social aspect is just as important as the physical aspect when we participate in group classes. Most participants in my yoga class and gym are older than me, the oldest at 96 years of age, so I’ve got plenty of inspiration and examples for positive aging. Thanks for sharing Sue and Leanne. Have a wonderful week! #lifethisweek

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 8, 2019 at 11:51

      Hi Natalie, I love the three ways Leanne is keeping active and fit. You are so right about the social aspect. I do enjoy working out at home with yoga and my strength training but I also look forward to my running with the Saturday Sisters where we can chat and keep fit at the same time. x

    • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au April 8, 2019 at 18:04

      I am astounded at how well some of these women cope with the fitness class Natalie – I don’t think any of them are in their 90’s but there would certainly be several in their late 70’s and 80’s who are still pretty nimble!

  • Reply Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid April 8, 2019 at 07:22

    I hear ya on how hard it is to hit the 10,000 steps target. I don’t drive so I walk everywhere and even on a day when I’m round the house and make a trip or two to the shops, I still can’t get there! Those classes are so well priced. I wonder if there’s something similar near me, I’m going to check it out because if the minimum age is 50, I’ll be able to join soon! I think Leanne has hit the fitness trifecta finding activities that are reasonably priced (or free,) suitable for her fitness level/goals but most of all, fun!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 8, 2019 at 11:52

      Hi Sammie it is amazing how we can get those steps in by incidental walking. I park the car further away, take the stairs and even walk around when I’m on the phone. Leanne has hit the trifecta and as always is a great guest to showcase on my blog. Have a beautiful week. x

    • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au April 8, 2019 at 18:06

      I think the Senior Cits were starting their intake at 55 but dropped it to keep their numbers flourishing. It’s certainly a very busy place and I’m even planning on checking out their hair salon sometime soon. I might as well reap as many benefits as possible from this Midlife gig!

  • Reply Retirement Reflections April 8, 2019 at 08:15

    Hi, Leanne – It’s lovely to see you here. Walking is my first choice of physical activity (yoga second, gym third). I admire how you have found a fitness routine that works for you, and have slowly built from there. That seems like a very wise approach to me.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 8, 2019 at 11:53

      Hi Donna we have similar exercises except I like to run sometimes instead of walking. I’ve known about Leanne and her Tai Chi but I think she will certainly benefit also from the Gentle Gym. It is all about finding something we like and just doing it, isn’t it? Have a beautiful week. x

    • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au April 8, 2019 at 18:07

      Hi Donna – I was hoping that my pleasant morning walk would tick all the fitness boxes, but it doesn’t even come close. It’s been a little bit disheartening watching my metabolism slowly grind to a halt and realizing that I need to actually exercise these days if I don’t want to turn into a blog. The trick is finding things that motivate me to keep doing them.

  • Reply Sydney Shop Girl April 8, 2019 at 08:19

    Hi Leanne!
    Lovely to see yo u here on Sue’s blog. You are both much admired bloggers of mine for addressing the issue of lifestyle change as we age. Thanks always for keeping it real, joyful and inspiring!

    SSG xxx

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 8, 2019 at 11:55

      Hi SSG, Leanne is always a welcomed guest on my blog as well as being my BBB (Best Blogging Buddy) 🙂

    • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au April 8, 2019 at 18:08

      Hi SSG – I love that my blogging tribe includes some of you “younger folk” and that we can inspire each other – that’s the joy of blogging isn’t it?

  • Reply Lydia C. Lee April 8, 2019 at 11:00

    I average about 9000 steps but it’s only on average 5kms, which is not that much. Working on working on it tho!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 8, 2019 at 11:55

      Hi Lydia 9,000 is better than zero, 5km is better than zero! Have a great day! x

      • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au April 8, 2019 at 18:10

        It’s funny how 5kms doesn’t sound like much, but when you’re not a naturally active person, it seems endless. That’s why it’s worked better for me to break it up a bit and not try to force myself to do it in one big chunk. Sometimes I hit 9,000 and it’s a high five moment for me!

  • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au April 8, 2019 at 11:25

    Thanks for having me as your guest Sue – I hope my efforts inspire others (who don’t find exercise overly appealing) to look around for something that is pleasant to do and not too expensive. There’s so many options out there these days if we are seriously looking to increase our movement and get healthier.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 8, 2019 at 11:58

      Hi BBB it is always a pleasure to have you as my guest and I loved the options that you shared with us. We don’t have to pay a fortune to keep fit and the secret is finding something that you like and fits your lifestyle. I hope you are enjoy Gentle Gym because with your Tai Chai and Walking you have a well rounded fitness routine going on! Have a great week and thanks again for being my guest. xx

  • Reply Joanne Tracey April 8, 2019 at 13:27

    Loving your routine Leanne. I do a 5km walk each morning – if I didn’t my Fitbit would register about 2000 steps a day. One day last week we couldn’t get out (pelting down) & I was glued to the office chair. By 3 pm I still hadn’t broken 1000 steps. Shock and flipping horror! Tai chi is on my list to try.

    • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au April 8, 2019 at 18:12

      I’m exactly the same Jo – I walk in the rain with an umbrella in Winter and on the elliptical machine if it’s too hot or too miserable outside because my step count would be pitiful if I didn’t keep to a routine of some sort. My fitbit has certainly opened my eyes to how easy it is to sit for hours – it buzzes me and I even ignore that at times (it’s hard being a naturally lazy person!)

  • Reply Miriam April 8, 2019 at 20:48

    How wonderful to read Leanne’s story. Reminds me so much of my beautiful late mum who, at 80 years plus, was going to the gym twice a week, regularly doing Thai chi and doing bushwalks with the U3A group. So much to be said for gentle and supportive exercise. Thanks for sharing Sue.

    • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au April 9, 2019 at 12:42

      Hi Miriam – if your Mum lived in Australia I’d probably be admiring her during my classes. I love that these older women are getting out every week to stay fit and flexible. They do as much as they can and are holding off the onset of aging by being active – very inspiring!

      • Reply Miriam April 9, 2019 at 14:16

        Yes, my mum was amazing Leeanne. She was very inspiring. I’ll be happy if I’m even half as active as she was at eighty!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 11, 2019 at 08:25

      I hope I’m like your Mum, Miriam. I lost my darling Mum when she was 63 to breast cancer. She would have been like your Mum had she lived. x

      • Reply Miriam April 11, 2019 at 20:41

        I’ve no doubt you’ll still be super fit in decades to come Sue. Happy Thursday xx 😊

        • Reply Sue Loncaric April 12, 2019 at 13:46

          You are too kind, Miriam. However, I hope I am because having lost my Mum at 63, Dad at 66 and my brother at 65, turning 62 this year is a little scary! The odds are great but then that won’t stop me. x

          • Miriam April 12, 2019 at 18:16

            I’m sure it won’t Sue. And just remember, with your positive mindset, anything is possible. Have a great weekend xx

  • Reply Agnes April 9, 2019 at 04:37

    Leanne, I love that your fitness routines are low budget to free. The financial aspect deters so many, yet everything counts, even housework and gardening. My steps have recently doubled as I am now doing before and after school care for my grandson and he’s happy to walk to school, despite the distance!
    My first foray into the land of “senior-dom” was a sizeable discount at a fancy hotel at Christmas in the heart of the city… it convinced me immediately of the benefits! Having taught seniors’ fitness for years, I feel the social aspect is just as vital to good health as the physical.
    Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au April 9, 2019 at 12:44

      Hi Agnes – you’re right about the social aspect and I love that they’re not competitive like the gym classes often are. They smile and have fun and a laugh and cheer each other on. No trendy fitness gear, and just a desire to be healthy and connected. Sounds pretty good to me – and well done on those extra steps (I just need a grandchild nearby to increase mine!)

  • Reply Faye Stevenson April 9, 2019 at 11:28

    Leanne has inherited my lazy gene and she probably looks at me (her mother) and thinks “if I don’t want to be hobbling around like mum in 20 years, I’d better get off my butt and start moving”. I walk most mornings and evenings for almost 2 kms, but that is the extent of my exercise these days. I did boot scooting a few years back and really enjoyed it, but it got a bit too hot and sweaty in a hall without air conditioning, so I gave it up. Keep at it Leanne, I admire your persistence to achieve those elusive steps.
    Hi Sue, nice to visit your site.

    • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au April 9, 2019 at 13:09

      Hi Mum! Lovely to see you following me over here and saying hi to Sue in the process. I’m not sure if the lazy gene is hereditary but I definitely have it. It’s so much easier to sit than it is to get up and move on a regular basis. I think my Fitbit has been a saving grace for waking me up to how little actual exercise I was doing each day – and having a few extra kilos creep on was the last nail in the coffin. If they ever invent a magic pill that makes sitting exercise then I’ll be the first to sign up for it!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 11, 2019 at 08:29

      Hi Faye, lovely to meet the mother of my BBB (Best Blogging Buddy). You are doing okay with the walking twice a day, so I don’t think you are lazy at all. Boot Scooting sounds fun and I’m sure it was a good workout! Have a great day and thanks for visiting, I hope you visit again. x

  • Reply Theresa Muth April 9, 2019 at 12:23

    Sounds like fun! I never even considered taking a senior citizen class. I will have to check into it! I’ve always wanted to try Tai-Chi
    Glad to hear you are enjoying your active retirement!

    • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au April 9, 2019 at 13:10

      Hi Theresa – I would never have considered it either – because we’re not “old”! What a wake up call it was to find out I qualified, but with those cheap classes on offer I’m not going to turn down the offer 🙂 I really do love the Tai Chi ones the best.

  • Reply Denyse Whelan April 10, 2019 at 19:26

    Good to read you here…and see what you have been up to Leanne. I wear a fit bit and have a goal of around 6500 steps a day. There are more days I do not get to that than when I do but the gentle reminders give me the nudge to get up and about. It has been too hot to do much outdoor walking so I count shopping centre walking as exercise and choose stairs over lifts etc. Every little bit. I did tai chi years ago but talked too much and was frowned at …by very serious instructor.

    As for being over 50. Celebrate it…and not be overly concerned with the age thing. Look at your mum who is going well. I am doing my “best” not to think too much about turning 70 this year!!

    Denyse x
    Message for you and Sue: Thank you for linking up for #lifethisweek 14/51. Next week’s optional prompt is 15/51 Share Your Snaps #3. 15/4/19 Hope to see you then. Denyse.

    • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au April 12, 2019 at 15:48

      Hi Denyse – I think you’re doing fabulously because you’re always out and about coffee-ing or at the beach. I think we can push ourselves too hard sometimes, and just acknowledging that we’re doing our best to move and to eat healthy is half the battle won. My fitbit has definitely helped wake me up to moving more – it’s a bit of a taskmaster at times though!

  • Reply Pat April 11, 2019 at 02:27

    Leanne (& Sue), I’m looking for a local Tai Chi place right now. So far, the only one I found is an 8-week intro class (great!) but for 4 of the weeks, we’ll be in Florida! Ack. I will keep looking! I wanted to mention however, that I’ve turned my coffee with girlfriend into a walk & talk a few times…. and my friends love it. They also don’t get enough steps in. I’m still not the best at getting in my goal, which is 9000 right now….but I do love when I get the fireworks on my FitBit!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 11, 2019 at 09:09

      You make me laugh Pat with the fireworks on your FitBit. I don’t have one but my competitive nature (competing only with myself) would make me walk around the house until the fireworks went off! LOL:) Have a great week! x

    • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au April 12, 2019 at 15:49

      Those fireworks are like the crowd jumping up and doing the Mexican wave aren’t they Pat? My fitbit died at the beginning of the week (after a miserable 14 months of use) and I’ve gone back to my cheapie for now. It buzzes me when I hit my goal, but I miss the fireworks. One benefit is that it’s more generous with my step count, so I’ve gained about 500 steps a day – bonus!

  • Reply Diane Dahli April 12, 2019 at 08:19

    Like many of you, I walk for my main exercise—I’ve never measured my regular seaside walk, but it takes me one hour at a brisk pace. Most evenings, I do a 35 minute weightlifting routine in my front room (preferably to my favorite late-night show). And of course, lots of stretching. I used to belong to a gym, but since I hate driving in the rain, at night, this suits me.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 12, 2019 at 13:49

      That is great Diane a brisk walk for an hour is plenty of exercise and good to see you have strength training in place as well. Stretching is something that many of us let go but you seem to have it all under control. Good for you! xx

    • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au April 12, 2019 at 15:51

      An hour of walking is amazing Diane – I find 30 mins twice a day is easier for me to accomplish – but if I had a beach to walk along it might be a different story. I also need to up my weight lifting game. I do a little bit at Gentle Gym and I think about how much more toned my arms would be if I did it more regularly.

  • Reply Janet Mary Cobb April 12, 2019 at 14:55

    Great post Leanne!

    • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au April 12, 2019 at 15:52

      Thanks Janet – it was fun to write and I always feel honoured when Sue lets me appear on her blog (and I feel healthier by association!)

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