Finding Fitness and Friendship Over 50
There’s something about the milestone of turning 50 that can excite or delight you. Let’s face it, if we are planning on living to 100 then we are halfway there.
Somewhere in my late 40’s when both kids were safely and happily off at high school, I found myself at a loss. I’d been a stay at home/contract work from home mum since they were born and life had revolved around the home, raising kids, juggling work and ageing parents.
Now I felt that it was time for me. With fewer demands on my time, the timing was right for me to explore new things and give some consideration to “rediscovering me”.
I didn’t really know where to start. Some things I knew weren’t for me. I loved fitness, the outdoors, sunshine, nature. So that ruled out museums and art galleries, shopping and lunching.
And I didn’t have a wide circle of friends. Sure, there were parents of my children’s friends and a few old school friends, but no one who really wanted to do what I wanted to do. Or even help me figure it out.
Deep down I knew there were other women like me, who wanted to try new things in the outdoors but didn’t know where to start or didn’t feel they had to be an expert before they had even tried it.
I didn’t want to look silly or be last or feel that they were the only person standing alone with no one to talk to. There was also the craving for great conversation and finding common interests.
When I couldn’t find anything that ticked all those boxes, I started my own business.
And I found other women, like me, who encourage, support and motivate each other. Along with time for coffee, socialising and always a chat.
When I asked our members their thoughts on finding fitness and friendship when “over 50” they were delighted to share their thoughts. Here’s what they had to say.
Make sure you find time for yourself
Debby, a retired primary school teacher, who recently celebrated her 60th birthday says:
“If you have had kids they may be grown up by now and instead of running around being “mum” you can be “me”. In your 50-60’s, you are often learning to adjust to a new lifestyle where your kids don’t need you as much. It is a good time to focus on health”
Find your Tribe
Julie, in her late 50’s, runs a farm and works full time. She says that when you find your tribe, exercising is fun.
“The benefits of finding exercise buddies that fit with you and understand all those little things such as toilets before walks, not having too many glasses of wine, understanding embarrassing moments, appreciating dimples and bumps and lumps and most of all appreciate the joy of being with the “girls” – like-minded women who support you”
Barb, a real estate agent in her early 60’s says it is important to keep moving.
“Regardless of how you feel, just keep moving. Because the minute you stop and all you want to do is have an afternoon lie down, the longer you stay there and the harder it is to get up again. Being accountable to others keeps you moving”
Be fit to do the things that need to be done
Lesley, in her 50’s who works full time, says:
“Being fit isn’t about keeping up with the gym fads. We don’t need to be able to do dozens of push-ups (well go for it if you want). But we do want to be able to pick things up off the floor, keep our balance, lift things above our head, weed the garden, even put our undies on standing up”
Go outdoors and into the fresh air
Anne, a retired police person in her 60’s says
“Our grandmothers were right here. Nothing beats getting out of the house and enjoying being outdoors with all it has to offer – both physically and mentally”
Regardless of whether you have been active all of your life or starting a fitness journey, it’s important to make it fun. Find the group that excites and delights you so that exercise isn’t seen as a chore, more as an active social outing that strengthens the mind, body and spirit.
Yvonne Shepherd is the Founder and CEO of Women’s Fitness Adventures – an outdoor activity company that encourages women over 50 to become stronger for life through fitness, adventure and social connections. They offer online and in-person outdoor fitness training and adventures in Australia and around the world.
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