Sometimes when we’re stuck, it takes a loved one’s guidance to help us take the first step toward reaching a goal.
It can be that way with fitness over 50, whether the loved one is a spouse, friend – or even an adult child.
Fitness has a way of bringing people closer together.
Take Sandy Bauer, 77, who admits that, until recently, she never cared for exercise over the years. She wanted to lose weight, gain confidence, and feel better about her appearance, but nothing motivated her.
“The worse I looked and felt, I just sat around feeling stuck,” she says. “I couldn’t get out of it.”
But now, Sandy can’t stand to miss a workout. She’s hooked – losing pounds and feeling better than ever.
The difference? She took the advice of her daughter, Kim Chiodo, 52, and started working out with Kim’s trainer at a gym.
“It’s taken me a lot to get started,” Sandy says. “But now that I’m doing it and feeling better, I really enjoy it. I like the way it’s helping me, so it makes me want to keep going.”
Working out with other people is a great route to fitness that millions of older people have found. The social interaction provided by exercise is one of its most important elements for older people, as Sandy learned.
And exercising with family members is a great way to share common interests, encourage each other, and establish positive habits without feeling nervous about stepping into a gym or studio for the first time.
Sandy recently moved to Kim’s city, and that helped, Kim said.
“I knew her potential, but I could see her aging in a way that I knew she didn’t have to,” said Kim. “She was exhausted, down and frustrated by her own limitations and I knew she was capable of more.”
For more than four months now, Sandy has been enjoying lifting weights for the first time in her life. And she has learned the vital importance of strength training for older people. It staves off muscle loss, known as sarcopenia; and it improves bone density, balance, sleep and mood.
Sandy arrives at the gym with a smile, happy to talk with everyone she sees, because she’s so excited.
“I feel proud that I have done this,” says Sandy, a former dental assistant.
But no one is prouder than her daughter, a speech pathologist.
“I’m so happy that she has this newfound confidence in doing something that she never really explored,” Kim says. “She’s happier. It keeps her mind engaged. It’s elevated her mood. She just feels better about herself.
“It gives me goosebumps, and peace and happiness. It’s been a bonding thing between the two of us.”
The admiration is mutual between mother and daughter.
“Every time Kim puts something on, she looks so beautiful,” Sandy says. “That’s what I’m striving for. She looks so good, she feels good, and she’s strong. She’s my idol. I hope I can continue like she does.”