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Aging And Physical Fitness

Jun 4, 2008
We so often hear people saying they feel less physically strong and flexible because they are getting older. Our belief is that this is mostly the result of inactivity and poor eating habits. It is true that we women begin losing muscle and gain fat in its place somewhere in our thirties even if our weight remains the same. At the same time, we believe from our own experience that although age may contribute to some decline in our physical abilities, we have a choice in the matter.

Julie: I never worked out much until I was approaching the age of forty. Then it dawned on me that I had better get moving. Back then I started aerobics and weight lifting and found that neither were the best workouts for me since I would occasionally injure myself. However, I continued doing the best I could. As the years passed, I switched from the aerobics to walking--walking long distances at a fast pace.

Finally, at the age of fifty-three I found Pilates and started doing that religiously instead of working with weights plus I continued walking. Pilates turned out to be the perfect workout for my body type and for my brain because it requires complete focus at all times (I need that). Within two years, my body was more toned and I was stronger and more physically fit at the age of "fifty-five" than ever before!

I currently do Pilates and have added yoga; however, I will admit I do not walk much although I am making a commitment to include walking regularly again. Walking had always allowed me to be fit without injury--exercises like running or jogging jars my knees and back and therefore are not good for me.

lynn: Even the term "working out" sends shudders down my spine. I have always been on the "big" side and during my 40s suffered greatly because I was largely desk-bound though in a teaching job where walking long distances from one lesson to the next was the norm. I was not, in my sense of the word, "fit". It was really only when I went to our Leadership program that I started to appreciate the link between body, mind and spirit. It is a ridiculous concept to disregard the body for the sake of the other two. Here, I was introduced to morning ritual - easy stretching exercises both outside and in - including use of the voice.

My only sustaining exercise has been walking my dogs and it was to this activity that I turned when I made a commitment in 2004 to do a Marathon. It was my first introduction to anything approaching a systematic "work out". The goal came, I succeeded, and it went and with it stopped the really long distance, powerful stuff. I had to pull myself into seeing walking the dogs as essential exercise. That done, it became a natural part of my days.

Over time I have also introduced the Bar Method of muscle isolation exercises into my life and just recently produced a list of 20+ activities that I can pick and choose from knowing that each one is giving me some form of vital physical exercise. This is great because routine does not sit well with me. I get bored. I have now got great satisfaction from, say, gardening by knowing that not only am I making my land look good, it's doing me good too!

If you do exercise, keep on keeping on! If you don't, ask yourself: What is stopping you? What benefit are you deriving from "not" exercising? What difference could regular exercise make in your life?

If you did exercise in the past and quit, what type of workout were you doing? Was it well suited for you? How about giving it a try again--perhaps with a different type of workout? Start out with something doable and increase gradually. With patience and perseverance, you will surely see improvement. Remember, we always have a choice!

2008 copyright Lynn Hull and Julie Molner
About the Author
Lynn Hull and Julie Molner, professional life coaches, co-authored "Your Life Your Way: The Essential Guide for Women" despite living across the Atlantic Ocean from one another. They are passionate about the unlimited possibilities that exist for all! http://www.essentialguideforwomenblog.com
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