Like many people over 60, I feel like I am in a constant battle with my weight. It’s not that I have low self-esteem. I don’t particularly care what other people think about my body. After six decades on this planet, I’m definitely past all of that.
At the same time, there are so many reasons that I want to be in better shape.
As baby boomers, we’ve seen many trends come and go. Many of embraced our bohemian side in the 1960s. We saw the rise and fall of disco, although some of us would claim that it’s still alive and kicking! Many of the women among us, including myself, wore power suits, with intimidating shoulder pads, in the 1980s. Now, after so many years of experimentation, most of us have settled on a style that works for us.
Many of us take fitness after 60 seriously because we want to look and feel our best. Well, now, according to a recent study, there is another reason to encourage the men in our lives to get in shape – fitness after 60 may reduce cancer risk among older men.
As we get a little older, we tend to lose our muscle strength, flexibility, and balance. This is a part of life. Fortunately, running after 60 is a terrific way to strengthen our bodies, while improving our cardiovascular health. Running offers other great health benefits like reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, depression and dementia.
Here are a few insights and ideas to help you get started with running after 60:
Like many women, I never quite found my groove when it came to fitness. Gyms were no go zones for me. It wasn’t just a matter of laziness. It also felt like the travel time, expensive clothes, complicated equipment, showering and coordination would take away from my other priorities.
Most people would find the idea of completing 75 triathlons in 75 days daunting, but, this is exactly what Daphne Belt did to celebrate her 70th birthday. Daphne’s experience is inspirational, not just for her personal triumph, but, also for the message that it sends to women about exercise over 60.
You see, Daphne was not a born athlete. According to The Guardian, by her 50th birthday, Daphne was struggling with her weight to the point that she had difficulty climbing the stairs. Now, 25 years later, she is living proof that life after 50 can be filled with vitality, energy and new experiences.
Pleasure is not normally a word that we associate with exercise. When I started my Pilates class a few weeks ago, I came away smiling after an hour of gentle and mindful stretching to soft music. I had a sense that, for me personally, I had found a workout regime that was right for my body. So it does not surprise me that Pilates has become one of the most popular exercises for older women.
Many of us are taking classes to build strength, reduce back pain, lose weight, or to improve coordination and balance. It has some similarities to yoga because it focuses on principles related to concentration, control and centering of the body.
Many older women may be feeling a bit stiff and restless after sitting inside during a cold winter and rainy spring. I know I am!
We all know that exercise is good for our health after 60. It helps us feel energized and optimistic and reduces the risk of many serious illnesses. So why is it that, even though we know exercise is essential to a long and happy life, only 32% of people over 65 regularly exercise?
The evidence is in! Sitting down for long periods of time is not good for us. Many previous studies have shown that a lack of regular physical activity in old age can significantly increase our chances of developing heart disease, osteoporosis and other chronic illnesses. Of course, as we age, we tend to move less, sometimes due to injury or illness. But, this can’t be the whole story.