At age 60, staying in shape is my mission. I work out every day, vacations and travel days included, but I don’t inflict my “religion” on others. You’d be mistaken if you assumed that I’m some wacko who’s always chomping at the bit to be the first one in the gym at 5:00 am. Some days my attitude is “bring on that spin class” and other mornings, I’d rather press “snooze.” Luckily, like clockwork, my husband hops out of bed and pours my coffee elixir.
Current Work Out
Lots of people work out harder than me, but I deserve the gold star for consistency. My workouts are challenging but doable, and I adjust them according to how my body feels on any particular day. Here’s what I do at the gym:
- Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays are spin class days. I warm up with 45 minutes of upper body weights.
- Tuesdays and Thursdays I concentrate on strengthening my lower body, then I tough it out for 30 minutes on the StepMill, followed by another half-hour on the Elliptical or recumbent bike.
- Weekends are my easy days. I spend an hour on the cardio machines and I’m done.
- In addition to my formal workouts, I stand at least every hour, prompted by my Apple watch, and take frequent short walks outdoors. I call them “exer-snacks.” I also incorporate little things that add up, like taking the stairs whenever I can.
Couch Potato Beginnings
I was your typically frenetic child, running here there and everywhere, frequently colliding with immovable objects and ending up in the ER. As I matured, I slowed down considerably. I was sent to Catholic schools where physical fitness took a back seat to worshipping God. My all-girls high school was housed in a lovely Manhattan brownstone, but the nuns failed to equip it with a sports complex. Yoga stretching in the auditorium was the only offering.
I didn’t do much better during the sticky New York City summers. Finally my parents wised up and got me out of the concrete jungle by shipping me off to summer camp on Cape Cod. Unfortunately, the reason the camp was inexpensive was that the owner saved money by failing to replace broken or lost equipment. After about the first week, there was no more archery or waterskiing. I spent most of the summer catching rays at the beach and unwittingly exposing myself to skin cancer.
I remained an inactive slug right through my college years, steering clear of athletics, convinced I was exercise inept.
Move That Body
My body finally started to see some action during law school, awakened by a boyfriend who loved to run. I was intrigued by the fact that he’d return from his morning runs with a big smile on his face and a surfeit of energy to start the day. Tired of feeling slothful, I invited myself along. It was an inauspicious and painful beginning. I huffed and puffed and barely made it around Polo Field’s 3/4 mile loop in Golden Gate Park. But, the next time it got easier and slowly it become a habit.
Unlike most attorneys, I didn’t slack off in response to the long stress-filled hours of legal practice. By the end of the long workday, I had so much pent-up anxiety that my options were limited to killing someone or working out. I’m a free woman today because I chose the latter. I settled into a routine of working out five times per week, either taking an aerobics class or running. On the weekends, I’d usually go for a long bike ride. To keep motivated, I’d run in 10ks and do century bike rides. I always chose the metric century rather than the 100 mile option. Enough is enough!
As we age, our muscles dissipate through a process known as sarcopenia. So, we need to do resistance training to replace the lost muscle or we turn to mush. It’s also nice to have a tight body with some girly-sized guns to show off. Like many people, for years I was intimidated by the seemingly endless variety of weight machines and resistance gadgets at the gym. Then one day, when I was in my early 40s, a trainer at my gym criticized my form when he spotted me lamely lifting some light weights. He turned out to be Earl Maynard, a two-time Mr. Universe, born in Barbados, who’d competed in the pre-steroid era. Why not learn from the best?
My Aging Body
Some people try to deny aging by desperately attempting to maintain their tennis prowess or basketballs skills or by continuing to run 26.2. I choose not to tempt fate. I’ve given up on the notion that someday I’ll be able to best Usain Bolt’s 100 meters world record. Now my top priority is injury avoidance. I stopped running because I didn’t want to blow out my knees or snap my Achilles. I sold my road bike to avoid becoming the latest victim of a distracted driver going 50+ mph. Now I’m a certified gym rat and proud of it. The key is to keep moving that body!