Older and fitter

edited 9 January 2019 at 12:25PM in Sports and Fitness MoneySaving
210 replies 27.9K views
trailingspousetrailingspouse Forumite
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edited 9 January 2019 at 12:25PM in Sports and Fitness MoneySaving
I've always done 'something' to keep fit (Pilates classes, yoga, walking), but 6 months ago joined a gym that really ticks all my boxes. I go three times a week, the trainer makes sure everyone's technique is good, suggests easier versions if you're struggling, but - and this is key - encourages/insists that you move up a level if you're able to.


This is what I needed!! No-one had ever told me before that I could lift more than the small pink 'girly' weights, and no-one had ever shown me how to do a proper press-up, or stood ready to catch me when I tried my first full-height box jump.


When I first joined the gym I was fit 'for my age' but I couldn't stand up to use the exercise bike, I couldn't (daren't) do a full-height box jump, I couldn't do a burpee, my running speed was pitiful, I couldn't do a plank... I could go on.


Now - well, I can do all of the above, and more. I can do 10 burpees in a row. My warm-up jogging is the speed that I was running flat-out at 6 months ago. And I can do a proper press-up, from the toes not the knees.


Some stats - I'm female, aged 58, resting heart rate of 72, max heart rate of 186 (for my age it should be 174), height 5'8", weight 9st 5lbs, BMI about 21. I haven't lost any weight - but I didn't need to or want to. I am however fitter and stronger than I've ever been, probably since my teens.



I've posted this for two reasons - one to show anyone who is a bit older and who's thinking about getting serious about getting fit that it can be done. And secondly to see if there's anyone else out there who's already doing it, so we could give a bit of mutual support.
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  • trailingspousetrailingspouse Forumite
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    No-one? Ah well, I'll just carry on keeping fit in my little corner over here.



    No worries.
  • happyandcontentedhappyandcontented Forumite
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    I think what you are doing is great, I only wish I had the willpower to do it too. I am considering what to do in early retirement and hopefully, it will involve something similar (if I can summon the enthusiasm) as exercise s not particularly appealing to me beyond walking.

    Well done!
  • EdSwippetEdSwippet Forumite
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    I've posted this for two reasons - one to show anyone who is a bit older and who's thinking about getting serious about getting fit that it can be done. And secondly to see if there's anyone else out there who's already doing it, so we could give a bit of mutual support.
    Great post. I'd never set foot in a gym before I retired from full time work, but decided that on retiring I was going to focus on improving my fitness. It was never bad, just a case of dad-bod (even though I'm not a dad!), and some toning up required. Getting fitter ticks one of my major retirement boxes as being 'not goal-oriented' -- you can never be too fit!

    At 58 I am now far fitter than a decade earlier. I go to my gym five days of the week (more than once on a couple of them). As well as harder-core classes I do some stretch/yoga for flexibility. Although it was not a goal, I dropped a full stone in weight over the first six months with no conscious change in diet, and am now 10st at 5ft 8in (for a male that's actually borderline underweight on some charts, but I really don't feel like I want any extra here!). Resting heart rate can be as low as 48, highest I don't know. My gym has a machine that supposedly measures your 'metabolic' age based on BMI, visceral fat, and so on. Mine is apparently 42 (or maybe the machine is broken).

    I am going to try to avoid the 'over-50s' and 'seated' classes for as long as possible. So far I can mostly match those in my more energetic classes who are in their 20s and 30s, so while that persists I'll carry on.

    Honestly it's one of the best things I've done for my own wellbeing, and I'm just sorry I didn't figure things out sooner. Up until I started this, sport for me was competitive, and as a bad loser (and even worse winner!) I'd shied away from team things. However, I also don't have the internal motivation to exercise alone -- I really do need a 'cheerleader' -- so going to group classes really keeps me accurate, focused, motivated, and honest. At times I'll be the only male in a class, but that doesn't bother me all that much; I've actually stopped noticing it now, for the most part.

    To anyone who's a 'bit older' and wondering whether to do something similar, like you I would say go for it. I cannot imagine a life not doing what I do now.
  • fred246fred246 Forumite
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    I was into computers in a big way in my teens and did very little exercise. In my twenties my body was in poor condition. We started gym membership in my thirties. I kept up a reasonable level of fitness but never had the time to go often enough. I think the big breakthrough was when my wife introduced me to classes.
    I have retired in my early fifties and so have time to go to the gym frequently. I know a lot of people there so it is very sociable. It's strange looking in the mirror and seeing abs, biceps, triceps etc. I could never do that in my twenties. I am fitter now than I have ever been.
    In terms of money saving I cycle to the gym. I pay less than £10 a week. The gym has a swimming pool, sauna, jacuzzi and steam room. I never shower at home so save on gas, water & elec.
    I try to get other men to do the classes without much success. It's hard spending your retirement squatting with a large weight on your back being surrounded by women in their twenties wearing lycra but sometimes you just have to put up with it.
  • fred246fred246 Forumite
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    Two very similar posts both posted the same minute!
  • angela110660angela110660 Forumite
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    Well done everyone. This year I have really got into Les Mills virtual bike classes at my gym as well as aqua classes and lots of walking. Feel so much better for it too and intend to keep going as much as health allows. If I don't keep it up it is so hard to regain the fitness again.
    Free films - 2009: saw 7 films. 2010 saw 7 films. 2011 saw 7 films. 2012 saw 5 films;2013 saw 7 films; 2014 and 2015 saw 1 in each. Nothing since!
  • edited 3 December 2018 at 9:51AM
    trailingspousetrailingspouse Forumite
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    edited 3 December 2018 at 9:51AM
    Wow!!

    Well done everyone.


    EdSwippet - that's great. It still comes as a shock to me when I see adverts aimed at over 50s ('The ones with Parky...') that they're supposedly aimed at me!! I'm not retired yet, but I work from home so my days are quite flexible. I go to the gym 3 times a week and on the days I don't go, I walk.



    fred246 - yes, I go to gym classes. Life changing. And interesting what you say about how few men are there. I really don't understand why not. And ironically a lot of women avoid gyms because they feel the culture is too macho!! We're a mixed lot at my gym, but yes, predominantly female.



    angela110660 - if those numbers are your date of birth, we're pretty much the same age. It is really hard to get back to it if you take a break - not impossible, but difficult. The simple solution is - don't stop!! I've found my health has improved - I'm sleeping better, I don't really have hot flushes, the hip that has caused me pain for years just doesn't hurt any more (seriously, there were mornings when I couldn't reach to put my socks on), my stiff neck isn't stiff any more, my balance is better. And my energy levels are immense!



    The gym is quite high-tech, we all wear heart-rate monitors and our 'scores' are up on a big screen at the front. You're really only competing against yourself, as the % effort is based on your own max heart rate - but it's still nice to see that my numbers aren't any different to people half my age! When you start they work out a max heart rate based on your age (mine was 174), but if you hit 100% effort they recalculate it. You basically get an email saying 'You appear to have exceeded your maximum heart rate and not actually died, so we think the max heart rate we've assigned to you is wrong and therefore we've increased it.' Mine has gone from 174 to 186.


    happyandcontented - I think the key is to find something that you enjoy. Failing that, find something that you can tolerate for long enough that you might start to enjoy it!!


    Right - I need to go and get ready - next class starts at 9.30!
  • IlonaIlona Forumite
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    Well done everybody who is working at keeping fit into old age. I don't like gym's, tried it once found it boring. I had a cross trainer at home, became bored with that and sold it.

    I am on my third year of the Walking 1000 Miles in One Year Challenge. The first year I hit the target on Dec 17th. Second year I topped it at 100 miles a month, 1200 miles. This year I am on 916 miles and I should reach the target by the end of this month.

    Walking is my thing, I need to do it every day if possible, because it makes me feel alive. I am 69, 5ft 7ins, and just under nine stone, so don't need to lose any.

    ilona
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  • edited 3 December 2018 at 8:46PM
    silverwhistlesilverwhistle Forumite
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    edited 3 December 2018 at 8:46PM
    happyandcontented - I think the key is to find something that you enjoy. Failing that, find something that you can tolerate for long enough that you might start to enjoy it!!

    Absolutely!

    A few weeks ago I played in a game of women's county league football (the bottom of the pyramid!), and having a chat with one of the opposition we determined that our combined age was 119 years.

    This week I scored our opening goal and crossed for an assist for one of our players, who was over 40 years younger..

    I could do with carrying one or two kilos less, but my resting pulse is if anything too low in the low/mid 40s.

    So just a suggestion of an alternative that certainly helps keep me young.:)
  • trailingspousetrailingspouse Forumite
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    Ilona - wow, that's a lot of walking!! Do you do it with an organised group, or do you just wander wild and free?
    silverwhistle - that's amazing. It's interesting that you think you could do to lose weight - I'm beginning to think weight is irrelevant but being healthy (through eating the right food and keeping physically fit) is essential. We can all get a bit hung up on the numbers - after all, weight is a lot easier to measure than 'healthiness'!


    Gym was fun today - every so often they throw 'theme week' at us - basically every day gets assigned a body part - today was 'lower body' day. Lots of squats and lunges. I'm beginning to think they enjoy seeing us suffer...
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