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.
Women everywhere are challenging stereotypes and creating a new definition of aging. We are embracing fitness over 60 and looking for new ways to stay healthy – in mind, body, and spirit. Getting older used to mean inevitable physical weakness and mental decline. However, new research shows that women can stay healthy and get stronger and mentally sharp as they get older.
Many people used to think that getting older meant experiencing an inevitable physical decline. Of course it’s true that most 60 year old women aren’t going to run a 3-minute mile or lift 100 pound weights, but recent research suggests that older adults can continue to stay stronger and healthier with regular exercise, especially strength training. Fitness after 60 is a choice.
It’s no secret that staying active has many health benefits. However, as we get older, aches and pains start and we often have to deal with patterns of behavior that keep us from living an active life.
The good news is that there are many fun activities and sports that can help you build endurance, strength, and flexibility for optimal holistic health!