Welcome to part 2 of my Ageless Fitness series. In my last post, I looked at how women in their 20’s and 30’s viewed fitness. Today I am talking with women in their 40’s and 50’s to see what fitness means to them and how their ideas on fitness may have changed as they have aged.
Ageless Fitness:Women’s views on fitness as they age
What does fitness mean to you in your 40’s?
Meet Holly and Laura both moms in their 40’s with children under 10.
Laura: “Fitness in my 40s means perpetually searching for challenges to tackle and beat. I am suddenly incredibly competitive with myself. I want to push to achieve things that I didn’t think possible. And because I have, I am emboldened to keep going. I have a never before discovered bad ass inside of me. I think I am rebelling against the story that we physically decline in our forties–I will not go quietly!”
Holly: “I had been quite active in open water swimming in my 20’s through my 40’s and found running quite late around age 45. Fitness means good health and happiness to me! When I am in good physical shape, I tend to be much healthier and therefore happier.
How has motherhood changed your idea of fitness?
Laura: I no longer treat fitness as a part of my beauty routine. I am aware that working out helps, to a certain extent, with weight control. But working out and weight control, are no longer synonymous with “fitness” in my mind. This shift for me is radical, and it’s because I now want to model what I believe is a healthy attitude and lifestyle for my girls. “Fitness” in my family is about being active and making good food choices for a strong and healthy body. How one looks is not relevant.
Holly: “I found that juggling full time work, motherhood and exercise was just exhausting! I could not find opportunities to swim that did not keep me from my family time. Joining MRTT (3 years ago) kicked my fitness into gear. I was able to find time to run (very early in the morning) that did not interfere with anything else and that was the key to improving my health and fitness level. Regular exercise with like minded friends has become my easy routine.”
How do you think fitness might change for you in 10 years?
Laura: I have heard that people mellow with age? Well, maybe that would be nice. Perhaps I could relax and stop this competition with myself. I picture myself having gotten wiser and gained more perspective.
Holly: I hope to continue to compete in half marathons, sprint tri and relay races over the next decade. The overall improvement in health and the ability to keep up with my 8 yo son are big motivators. In 10 years I’d be in the 60-65 age group and I’d consider that an honor!
What does fitness mean to you in your 50’s?
Gail ( mom of 2 young adults): “Someone once told me that during perimenopause and menopause, the mothering hormones decrease and life is more about oneself and not the kids. So I feel that recently I’ve been pouring all my (non-work) energy into fitness and exercise. It’s all about me and very selfish but I wouldn’t have it any other way!”
Andrea (mom of 2 teens): “Fitness at 50 is more thoughtful than it was for me in my 20’s and 30’s. I find that I am more risk adverse. Concentration, visual acuity, and balance are skills that must be maintained and focused on for safety and longevity. Fitness at 50 is all about having fun and doing what you can each day.”
How did fitness change for you with motherhood?
Andrea: “The key for me has been managing to MY schedule and juggling priorities and responsibilities to facilitate what needs to be done, and my personal goals for physical and mental health. Don’t forget that your healthy lifestyle models your children’s behavior. My only regret is that I did not join MRTT sooner. My advice-Join MRTT or another local group for motivation, camaraderie and peer pressure.
How has fitness changed for you the last 10 years?
Gail: “Over the last 10 years four things have changed in my fitness routines: (1) Now I have to stretch before and after, (2) I cross-train, (3) I always wear sunscreen outside when exercising (those wrinkles scare me), and (4) I’ve learned that I like to run with others. Into the future, I expect that I will be more aware of maintaining fitness, bone mass and balance to prepare my body for aging (that will hopefully not start for another 30 or 40 years!).”
Andrea: “Over 50, I focus now, on what I am capable of doing each week/day, versus what I’d like to do. I set a routine and stick to it. As we age, our body doesn’t always allow us to do what our mind and heart would like to do, and it is important to go with the daily flow.”
I hope you enjoyed reading this series as much as I enjoyed writing it.
How might fitness change for you in the next 10 years?
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