Look good at any age
While health gives vitality, energy, vibrancy and confidence, the issue of health is not a motivator for people to exercise at any age. Using health to motivate people into action hasn’t proved successful. If the issue of health was a hot motivator there’d be people of all ages flocking to exercise as its benefits are well documented.
It’s clear this approach has largely fallen on deaf ears. It’s my view that people are more interested in looking good than they are in staying healthy. People on the whole put off working on their health until they suddenly have a health problem.
On the other hand, people universally want to look good. And so if exercise was promoted as a way to look good at any age and be attractive, desirable and vibrant at any age many more people, including older aged people would participate in exercise.
To see the importance looking good holds in the society, one only has to look at the newsagency magazines and count the number of books or magazines on health as opposed to books or magazines on beauty and looking good. Exercise makes one feel vibrant, alive and attractive at any age. I think it’s time we started promoting this.
As an older person life challenges are very different from that of a younger person. Challenges present themselves naturally to a young person, like getting qualified, finding a job and a life partner, securing a home and having children etc.
When you’re older however, life challenges no longer present themselves automatically and so and we must find our own challenges and pathways to stimulate and reward us. Sadly, many older people focus on their sickness and make their sickness or ailments their life focus, possibly because they are unaware of possible more exciting alternatives.
TRADITIONAL OLDER PEOPLE’S MIND SET:
(a) Its younger people’s turn now. It’s time for me to take a back seat.
(b) I must play the role of grandmother/ grandfather
(c) If I dressed the way I’d like, I’d look like mutton dressed as lamb. I must wear things befitting my age.
(d) I must have a partner who is age appropriate
(e) I must act my age
(f) I must not rock the boat
(g) It’s too late for me
This of course is nonsense. Life can be vibrant, exciting and adventurous at any age!
On my return walk this morning I saw an old lady, aged 70+ struggling up the hill to my right. She wore a loose floral dress which fell over a very large stomach and she had a large hump on her back. With her right hand she was pushing a stroller and with her left hand she was leading a toddler. Half way up the hill she struggled slowly across the road. Where another incline would greet her.
A little later, and aroused by this experience, I spied another older lady in front of me pushing a heavy stroller, and I so hastened to catch up with her.
“Hello,’ I said. “And who’s this little one?”
“This’s my granddaughter. I’ve been minding her, but I’ve told them today that this is my last day. I simply can’t do it anymore. I don’t have the energy. She’s asleep now. I’d rather her be asleep later on when I need a rest. I love her to bits but I simply can’t continue to do it.”
Not that long ago, I met a lady I knew leaving the gym at about 7.15 a.m. She’d been a regular gym family attendee for many years, but I hadn’t seen her for quite a while. ‘Hello,” I said. “Where’ve you been?”
“Oh,” she said. “I have to leave the gym about now to get home to take the grandchildren to school. I don’t mind,” she said and her eyes lowered and her mouth straightened. “We miss you,” I said.
I recall a conversation I had some time ago with a young woman who had two little children. “Day Care is taking most of my earnings,” she complained. “And do you know what happened?” I clearly had no idea. “My mother retired not so long ago and I said to her that’s fantastic! Now, you can mind the children for me, and do you know what my mother did? She went straight back to work!”
I looked around the thinly peopled room. It was deadly silent. Most had their heads lowered, dozing. I’d been asked to speak to the residents of a local Aged Care Facility re the benefits of exercise and Weight Resistant Training (WRT) in particular. Those present seemed to be 80+. Suddenly I heard to the side of me, “I need to go to the toilet. I won’t be long. I don’t want to miss the talk.” The voice belonged to a comparatively energetic male who stood up and made his way to the toilet with as much haste as he could muster. When he returned he told me that he was from the Sutherland Shire in Sydney, an area in which I lived for 15 years and so we chatted away sharing our knowledge of the area. I noticed that he was hugging two, bedraggled, but obviously well-loved soft toys close to his body, one on either side. “These are all I’ve got left of my parents,” he said, clutching the bedraggled pair closer to him as if they were his most precious possessions.
“Are there any more residents to come?” I asked a young, female aged care worker standing nearby, hoping there’d be some younger residents coming. “Oh yes,” she said, “someone has gone to get them.” Eventually a procession of walking frames appeared, moving ever so slowly. As the last of the entourage were entering the room, one of the walking frame entourage, an elderly female resident, broke out in song. “What a beautiful voice,” I said. “Sorry,” she said. “Not at all,” I replied, “your voice is beautiful.” She beamed and stopped singing, and sat down
The room now ready and comfortably peopled, it was time to begin. ‘This is going to be difficult,’ I thought.
However, it wasn’t difficult and the beauty of what followed I’m finding almost impossible to capture in words. We began talking about the world that was. The world these older people knew; the world where the shops closed at 12 noon on Saturdays and didn’t open again until Monday 9am. The world before McDonalds and televisions and epidurals and motor mowers to name a few. We also talked about the dating mores of yester-year and life as it was. Their eyes became energised and alive. We then talked about the value of our experiences and how future generations might want to know about the life we lived, as I wanted to know about my great-grandmother who I never met, but to whom feel ever so close. We talked about Ancestry.com and the TV show, “Who Do You Think You Are?” and how people wanted to know about their ancestors. We talked about looking up and making contact with people from the past. Interspersed among all this was the theme of needing the energy and strength to pursue these things through gentle WRT and walking.
At the end of the session a distinguished gentleman at the back of the room told me of a girlfriend he had when he lived in the United Kingdom, “We used to ride our bicycles 20 miles to a big city and 20 miles back,” he said with wistful affection. “Why don’t you try and contact her now?” I said. “But she’d be old now,” he replied. I thought it best to remain silent, while thinking, ‘Oh yes? And you?’
As the walking frame entourage stood up to go the lady with the beautiful voice began to sing, “Such a, beautiful voice,” I said
She beamed. “I’m Italian,” she said with pride. “How lovely,” I said. I had an Italian boyfriend once and I still think of him sometimes. His name was Pasquale but race and religion kept us apart. She smiled tenderly and knowingly and I felt she understood what I meant and how things were years ago. As the group left the room with smiles and handshakes and requests for me return, I felt spiritually uplifted. As for the gentleman with the two well-loved soft toys, who didn’t want to miss anything, he fell asleep early in the process and missed the whole thing!
Thanks Weight Resistant Training!
I recently had my bone density checked and it was found to be close to the bone density of a 35 year old. I would urge everyone to embark on Weight Resistant Training (WRT). For me WRT is definitely a must do. I hate to think what my bone density would have been at age 73 without it. Thanks Weight Resistant Training.
My major thrust is to encourage people to continue to go forward in life and not be bound by age, stereotypical thinking or the expectations of others. Too many people waste precious years succumbing to the dictates of restrictive stereotypes and the expectations of others. I aim to break the restrictive older female stereotype and show what is possible and help give other older females permission to go forward and be all they can be.
One of my male friends at my gym, aged 83, became conscious of a shortness of breath just before Xmas. He thought it was just stress as he was going through a rough time. However he was encouraged by gym members to go to the doctor and see about it. In short, he was found to have dire heart problems. Subsequent tests revealed that he had 100% of one artery to the heart blocked and 80% of another one blocked and so urgent surgery was required. On January 11, 2016 he had heart surgery and was told he’ be in ICU for three or four days. I rang the hospital on Wednesday 13th January to find out how he was. “Oh he’s in the cardio ward,” said the hospital telephonist. “I’ll put you through.”
A male nurse answered. “I’m ringing to find out how my friend is,” I said. “Oh he’s doing marvellously.” He sounded amazed. “He’s even been for a walk this morning. Do you want to speak to him?” “I’d love to,” I answered.
“Hello Love,” my friend said. “How are you?” I asked. “I’m absolutely fine I’ve been for a walk this morning.” “I know,” I said. “The nurse seemed amazed.”
“You know,” he said, “They had to take arteries out of my neck and legs for my heart.” “That’s amazing,” I said and then with an enormous burst of enthusiasm he said, “And the doctor said I can have sex anytime I want!” “Then perhaps I should warn any would be female visitors.” I said
It makes my heart sing to hear that so many ladies 50+ and 60+ are now engaging in Weight Resistance Training (WRT). WRT is a fantastic vehicle to increase bone density, as well as to increase our overall strength and realise a great body shape. Engaging in regular WRT can give an incredible inner vibrancy. It increases our energy level and makes us feel attractive, energetic, desirable and happy with ourselves.
Many older women in the past have suffered psychologically from put downs like, ‘Old Chook, Old Duck, Old Boiler’ and jokes about ‘The Old Girl.’ I remember a cartoon I saw in 1987 which made me very upset at the time. In the cartoon in question, the setting was a swimming pool scene with young beautiful girls walking around the swimming pool in bikinis. There were also two men standing around the edge of the pool, each with a can of beer in their hands, and each with excessively large stomachs overlapping their swimmers. These men looked comfortable and confident and were ogling at the young girls. However what impacted on me was that in this cartoon there was also an older woman who was wearing a one-piece costume and standing in the swimming pool with water up to her neck, looking very uncomfortable with her arms folded around her as if she was trying to hide her body. At the time I thought, “How unfair it seemed that the older woman felt that she had to hide her body whereas, the grossly overweight older males felt comfortable to let their grossly out of shape bodies to be on show.
Now that we ladies are training and getting our bodies into great shape, even at 70+, those days of hiding our older female bodies are fading into the distant past.