Photo by Danielle Cerullo / Unsplash

It's harder as you get older? I disagree. It's harder if we make it harder. Penny shares an update

Penny Nelson is barreling towards her mid-seventies. She's on a tear. Last year, overweight and too weak, she accused me of barking too much about exercise (she's right) and decided to take things in hand. By the time she wrote me about it she had already been working with a trainer who turned out to be  perfect for her.  So it wasn't an OKAY NOW; it was more, hey, I'm already committed.

Over the course of the months she has periodically kept me updated. Observations about how every so often she tries to talk herself out of heading to the gym (been there). Even better, the day she realized that she wasn't riding the Kawasaki (did  get that right?) but instead was walking with the dogs, instead of motoring while they ran on her farm.

Her trainer told her that weight loss happens in the kitchen while strength happens in the gym. My fellow readers who have been at this a while know this intimately. We often forget that others are new to that journey, no matter how old. What matters isn't when we get after it, but that we DO get after it, and then having started, sticking with it.

Penny has regularly stated or implied that she wishes, as do we all, that she had started taking care of herself sooner. But that she's going to finish strong.

That said, here is her update:

The program is going great! So far I have lost 35 pounds along with at least three sizes. I'm still going to the gym three days a week, 2 with my trainer and 1 on my own. But I've added two workouts per week at home - planks, deep assisted squats and all sorts of exercises I can do sitting, standing and along the wall or on the floor. Those days vary depending on the week but I try to get them all in. Plus I walk more, work harder but rest more, eat better and only binge out on sugar occasionally - well probably more often than I should but a whole lot less often than I used to.

The weight continues to drift off. I'm working on getting my knees and ankles more flexible and adding more weight on most of the other machines. I'm also taking a dry sauna after each workout and for some odd reason I'm drifting towards colder showers.

Bottom line - I've got more energy and the workouts are more matter of fact. I still try to talk my way out of going to the gym on my way over there but other that being out of town or actually sick, I haven't missed a day.

We went to a minor league baseball game last night with my kids and grandkids. It was Girl Scouts night and granddaughter Amilia was walking the field. The whole thing was fun. I loved seeing all my family. I think the high yesterday was 100 degrees but it was still wonderful.

Most spectacular to me was me walking up and down the steps in the stands without being concerned I might fall, without being out of breath, and briskly enough that I wasn't holding anyone up. I felt like I was in so much better shape than I have been in in decades. (author bolded)

When we give up the idiotic notion that we have to look like fitness pros even as we age, and instead concentrate on quality of life and options, life blossoms big time. No matter what else is happening in the rest of the world, the intimate relationship that you and I can have with the body we were given to drive this life  can be deeply rewarding, even as other aspects of life get terribly bumpy.

I am reminded of this as I pack all those moving boxes again, and start to stack them. I lost a lot of strength in my left shoulder due to the two surgeries, and the comeback is slow and steady. For any of us, Penny's late start and my late-in-life getting banged up, being in shape is ever a Sisyphean task. The best and most marvelous news is that muscle memory is ever our friend, so long as we are willing to do the work to invite those muscles to strengthen again.

Penny has been at this for months. She's been watching the changes, and being one with a scientific background (she's a geologist by training) she's good at measuring.

What we measure, moves.

I hope you will join me in acknowledging her progress, and are as excited for her as for what this means for us as we age. It's  very much an emotional process, one of discovery and self-love. We are never too old to start taking better care of ourselves, and the body will respond.

I am up for good news. This qualifies.  With thanks to Penny for always allowing me to quote her no matter what.
Photo by Javier Santos Guzmán / Unsplash