I’m a 51-year-old mother of 3 boys and a grandmother to a 4 ½ year old grandson. I also recently divorced and have gone through 3 major surgeries.
Throughout it all, keeping up with a healthy, constructive lifestyle helped guide me through the ups and downs of my life.
I knew my recovery was going to take some time, both from a physical and emotional perspective, but time was all I had so I gave it back to myself.
Mind over matter
I started my own business, Gen Physiques, to inspire women at any age to stay fit and look great. My motto is: “Your body can stand almost anything, it’s your mind you have to convince.”
I believe women of all ages are beautiful in our own unique way.
Staying fit, healthy, and looking your best will not only make you feel great about your body and improve your mentality but will help you age gracefully as well.
As you age, it is so easy to give into sidelining your fitness goals due to the demands of daily life. For instance, balancing work, children and home life can make it seem like there are not enough hours in the day. The overwhelming nature of life is often enough reason to “make tomorrow the day”.
Making ‘me’ time
But my experience has reaffirmed my belief that you need to find time for yourself. Women must realise that it is okay to be selfish for an hour.
Everyone needs a bit of “me” time – time to allow your body and mind to get back on track as it escapes the rest of the craziness we go through every day.
And there is so much that you can accomplish in 30–60 minutes of training. I know stepping out of your comfort zone is scary but do it until you find something you love and, in turn, it will make you love yourself. I promise, you won’t regret it.
Take the first step
If you are unsure where to start, just know that any step forward is a step in the right direction. A few suggestions include taking up a yoga class, a total body condition class, boxing, dancing, or just hitting the weights at your local gym.
If you really cannot make time for just yourself, get the kids or spouse involved on a simple outdoor hike and enjoy nature’s beauty with all that it has to offer.
Make exercise a part of the family dynamic and learn to grow and stay connected together.
Don’t forget to mix it up here and there with your exercise. Changing up your routine will keep you interested, instead of feeling stuck in the same monotonous rhythm, which will pay off in the end.
Exercise your options
Remember, you’re not confined to exercising in the gym. It can happen at home, outside or even at your desk.
Exercise also doesn’t always have to be built around the machines at the gym. Simple bodyweight training does wonders, especially when you’re on a budget.
Some people dread jogging and others fear weights, but both have their benefits and their place in a complete workout routine.
Cardio can help protect you from heart disease, give you more energy and increase your endurance to keep up with the grandkids, especially if yours are as energetic as mine.
Building muscle strength by doing some simple weighted exercises will keep your bones strong, while helping to maintain lean muscles mass, which is so vital as we age. The age-related decline in muscle mass and bone density is the reason why the elderly are more prone to breaking bones.
And maintaining more lean muscle burns off more calories, even while you are just doing your normal daily activities.
It is also important to address your age-specific nutritional needs and supplement with vitamins and minerals where necessary.
Go for a yearly check-up with your primary care physician and have a conversation with your doctor about your blood work. They will identify any potential deficiencies and recommend what you need to add to your daily intake to address these nutritional shortfalls.
What we put in our bodies is a direct reflection of what we get out of it.
That doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself once in a while, but be aware of the quality and quantity of food in your diet. If time is scarce, weekly meal prepping is a great option. Set aside a bit of time to get grocery shopping and meal portioning done, which you can easily reheat during the week.
Planning is the key to success in all of this – make time to gain time. That means gaining more years with your loved ones by taking care of yourself. Time means more precious moments with family and friends that you normally would have missed with your attention elsewhere. Having more time means building a better, healthier you.
Written by Genevieve Celaya
This contribution was created in partnership with FITposium, an annual educational and inspirational seminar focused on success in the fitness modelling and entrepreneurial industry. Held in Arizona in the US, this workshop features a variety of sessions to prepare fitness talents with everything they need to know to enter the market and succeed. For more info about FITposium, visit fitposium.com.
Author: Pedro van Gaalen
When he’s not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He’s worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.