Fitness at 50

Fitness At 50


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I never truly grasped the transformative effect of exercise until I experienced my initial Zumba class. As soon as the music began and I made my initial moves, a genuine feeling of joy enveloped me.

It was as if I had been liberated from a self-imposed cage.

That was in January 2022 and, two years on, I still go to my Zumba class religiously every Sunday.

It is my exercise highlight – and it’s not the only time I move.

On Thursday evening there is a yoga, and Friday morning I get up early to fit in Pilates before work.

At the age of 57, I have finally made exercise part of my life.

"It was easier to collapse on the sofa than to get active."

As someone who has been a gym dodger for decades, I still find this turn of events quite surprising.

And the key to my complete change in attitude is a very simple one discovering an exercise buddy in my friend, Nicky, who goes to all those classes with me.

We’ve been friends for many years, having met when our daughters were babies (ironically at an exercise class for new mums when we didn’t get any fitter).

As those girls have become teenagers, the pair of us have grown too – and not in a good way.

By the end of 2021, neither of us did regular exercise and our BMIs were in the overweight section.

Part of it was to do with the menopause and both of us working pretty much full-time, so by the end of the day it was easier to collapse on the sofa than to get active.

"I felt like I had a cheerleader."

Neither of us felt good about ourselves and over a glass (or two) of wine, we decided that 2022 was the year we’d do something about it.

Of course, we were not alone, studies of new year resolutions in the UK show that getting fitter comes out top of the list at 56%.

So, like many thousands of others, in the first few weeks of January we both signed up for a year long membership with a local gym.

My husband, knowing my attitude to exercise, thought I was wasting my money 67% of gym memberships are never used, and I am sure he thought mine would be one of them.

But doing classes with Nicky immediately altered my attitude towards exercise.

Instead of it being a solitary chore, I felt like I had a cheerleader, someone on my side.

I am not surprised that many personal trainers recommend that to keep on track with an exercise plan, it makes sense to do it with someone else.

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Neither of us really like gym workouts, so instead we decided to go to exercise classes together. In fact, I have Nicky to thank for discovering my passion for Zumba.

I had never been tempted to try it until she persuaded me to give it a go, and we both love it.

In turn it was my idea that we go to Barre classes which has ballet inspired moves.

It felt nostalgic to me as I’d done ballet (badly) as a child, but for Nicky it was the first time doing a plie and even the odd pirouette.

"It has made a great difference to how I feel and look."

Weekly Zumba, yoga and Pilates plus the odd Barre class means that we are moving for three to four hours a week.

The NHS recommends doing at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week to keep healthy, so we are beating that target.

It has made a great difference to how I feel and look. I’m about 10Ibs lighter than two years ago, and my weight now falls into a healthy BMI range for my height.

There are days of course when I am not in the mood to go to a class, when I feel that I have too much work to get through or it is just too cold and wet.

In the past I would have given into that feeling, but a quick WhatsApp exchange with Nicky to check she is going, means I invariably put on my exercise gear and go too.

"Being gym buddies has definitely brought us closer."

Also, it has been a bonding experience.

Nicky and I have been friends for 14 years, and in the past even done the London MoonWalk together, but being gym buddies has definitely brought us closer.

Later this month, we’re going to be celebrating two years of fitness.

I know I would not still be going to the gym three times a week without Nicky and she says it has been key for her.

Together we are stronger and fitter of course.

Source: goodhousekeeping

The opinions shared in the GymNation blog articles are solely those of the respective authors and may not represent the perspectives of GymNation or any member of the GymNation team.