I'm with you @ChiGirl, in my 60s as well. Trying my best to stay active and do the things I love while I'm retired (I don't run but do my best to move). I posted about activities to do while retired, I would love advice if you have any: https://community.athletawell.com/t5/Restore-Recharge-Conversations/Activities-to-Do-When-Newly-Reti...
Great post. I work with busy women in their 50's and 60's to shed weight and get their energy and confidence back. One truth I see over and over again is they need to stay active but most likely change their approach. Often a mindset shift needs to take place to help them see new ways to move their body. I'm big into strength training to preserve bone and muscle loss.
I just want to put in a good word for women who stay active at 65 but do not work out intensely. I walk my dog less than 2 mi. every day except when it is really cold. I also go to Barre3, yoga and a personal training workout with 2 others once each week. I have rheumatoid arthritis and am careful at all my workouts. I am not trying to improve my condition, but want to keep up my movement in order to stay healthy. And it's working for me!
I agree. There is not a whole lot of information for those of us who are older, and I will try and give this subject a start.
I am 61, and my fit ness background includes decades of competitive running and masters swimming. I injured my low back and tore ligaments in my right foot in my 50s. Prior to that, I have torn my ACL and medial meniscus in the left knee. I have not had surgery on any of this, and do not have pain. I have found that activity modification and muscle and joint strengthening are key, at least for me. I am all about core strength: vertebral, anterior and posterior, as well as proper posture and stretching. Once those areas were addressed, I worked on the muscles around each of my injured areas. Lastly, though I still run, I find that I benefit from a mix of cardio, which includes working out on a spin bike, and going for walks and hikes. I hope this helps.
It was so wonderful to see all of you respond. Muffy your an inspiration. I am so surprised that your meniscus does not cause pain. I am a year out and it still bothers me. Latest MRI shows its gotten worse but ligaments are intact. I can walk and bike but its all about running for me. What muscles did you focus on - just hamstring and glute?
I am 60 and train women in their 60's as well. I have recently changed up our workout modality to include more range of motions movements in multi planes, pilates and barre style workouts plus movements that train the smaller intrinsic muscles by lengthening them and regaining ROM. It's important to back up and restore proper function of joints, muscles and connective tissues. It makes no sense to pound into a poor functioning joint with heavy weights or repetitive movement. When we awake some of the body systems that have shut down our body becomes less rigid and less painful. Sometimes you have to back up a few steps in order to move forward. I would love to talk more about this is anyone is interested.
You address the smaller muscles first by moving in multi-directional planes such as with rotating and diagonal movements, as well as using lighter resistance and moving in many ranges of motion (twist , turns and rotations). The opposite of the traditional squats lunges and bicep curls which is just the sagittal plane. Take a look at the Tracy Anderson method and the Gray Institute Method.
Hope this helps.
@ChiGirl Here at AthletaWell, we want you to feel comfortable to bring up any topics that you want to talk about (and that includes topics for people 60+!!) I think talking about running and activities for 60+ is a great conversation that a lot of people would like to have. I encourage you to continue bringing up all the things you want to talk about!
Also, here is some content that I think you may enjoy:
I love that this is being brought up and agree with so much of the earlier posts in moving differently in our 60's. I am 67 and have been physically active with cycling, swimming, tennis, running etc all my life. In the last 5-7 years have broken lots of bones from back to elbow from cycling - always had some ache or pain going on. Since the bad bike accidents I have learned that to slow down and to get some rest and renew time is very important. I am also learning about how to strengthen 4 basic areas of the body for practical functioning so that we can continue to do the things we love. Lunges, squats, rows, pushups in various forms and difficulties are the basics for maintaining strong everyday functions. I do a practical function training 3 x week in addition to my regular sports activities and I feel so much more balanced and stronger!
I'm a personal trainer who trains women 60+ years of age. There are many ways to be active at every age. Some of my clients are able to do more high intensity workouts, while others need more modifications and lower intensity. It really depends on the individual and his/her health history.
Probably one of the most important aspects of exercising that all women should practice is resistance training. While cardio is good for maintaining your heart health, resistance training is what helps to grow muscles, strengthen bones, improve metabolic rate, increase mind-body awareness, and much more. Strength training does not only pertain to lifting heavy free weights. There are so many different types of equipment, big and small, that can be used, as well as just bodyweight. There are also many different modalities and formats to training that go beyond repetitive sets and repetitions. I follow ACE's model of Functional Movement Training with all my clients, regardless of fitness levels. The model breaks down human movement into several categories, and within each category, we focus on form, proper muscle recruitment, mind-muscle connection, and technique of movements that we replicate in our activities of daily living. In addition to strength training, we also incorporate balance training (key to injury prevention), flexibility, mobility, stability, and cognitive fitness. The goal is to have a sustainably strong and healthy mind and body for longevity.
Happy to share additional suggestions, if interested.
I love this thread! I am 62, a yoga teacher who hikes, paddleboards, and walks a few miles a day. I have had a couple back surgeries and notice most resources I see involving pain or arthritis make it sound like we are just barely moving, and I am confident that is not the case. I know there are so many active older women out there and it is fun to hear from you.
I’m so excited this is being talked about! @ChiGirl for knee pain, there is lots you can address. It truly depends on where your biggest pain generator is to help deduce what area to focus on. But generally speaking achy knees need sufficient hip mobility and ankle dorsiflexion.
Then muscles to focus on are definitely the glutes, specifically hip rotators - but maybe most of all the quads. The quads are what feeds into the patellar tendon which goes over the knee cap, and they are the primary shock absorber for the knee. Hamstring flexibility is important, foam rolling quads can be helpful for symptoms of tightness.
Finally calves (gastroc and soleus muscles) are important push off muscles with running. Once these are all covered with strength training, I would add light impact like jump rope or baby hops and gradually increase your intensity (walk/jog ➡️ Jog/run) and distance.
Shoewear is important if you are needing to adjust as well. Don’t underestimate the importance of how your foot is moving 😉.
Also a note on MRI’s.. while they do offer up an image for what’s on the inside, they don’t always show the pain generator! Meniscus tears and joint changes are fairly common, but CAN and asymptomatic. So a note to everyone (I always repeat this).. remember to take those MRI results with a grain of salt. It’s also of utmost importance to remember your body is resilient and while it may take a slightly different workout regimen to build strength- the ability to is CERTAINLY still there! 🙂
I’d happy to start a conversation of host an office hour on Knee Pain & Age-Related Changes if this is something anyone is interested in? Let me know!
New to this forum & 1st post, bear with me … accepted an early retirement package exactly a year ago. I don’t miss the work itself but miss the office camaraderie (which would never be the same anyway with most shifting to remote for good). Other big life changes include my son moving out of state and a relationship of a few years ending.
I was always a “desk jockey” and never the athlete many of you above appear to be. Question, how do I motivate myself to get moving at this stage in life when having too much on my plate prior with it never a priority before? I have the time but. It the desire. Looking for more of a jump start than pure head knowledge that it should help my health long-term. Thanks all.
Hi @NancyL ! Welcome to the space, we're so excited to have you! Congratulations on your retirement. As a physical therapist, I oftentimes have to get people to exercising who may not necessarily have been the 'most" active before. Some things I recommend are setting very SMALL goals to start, maybe walking 10-15 minutes in the morning and afternoon, trying to find an accountability partner to help you stay on track, but most of all, find something you enjoy! You're much more likely to continue to participate in an activity for if you enjoy it versus it being like a "chore." Group exercises classes, Zumba, water aerobics, Tai Chi/Yoga, community exercise groups, or getting a personal trainer can all be a gentle start into experimenting with different exercise. Remember, it doesn't have to be fancy or extensive, start small and find what you like most. The health benefits are packed from heart health, bone health, mental health, and more! And if anything hurts, do let me know - I may be able to help. 😊. Welcome to AthletaWell!
I appreciate your suggestions. I do some yoga, and walk evenings with a neighbor when we’re available and the weather cooperates. (I’m in a warm climate with lots of late-day/early evening rain, and not a “morning person”.) Tried tai chi & Zumba when still working to know they’re not for me. I do have a pool; my son’s treadmill is here and serves to hold pool floats, lol. Bought a bike I’ve used twice.
I have yet to experience those feel-good endorphins I hear should magically descend on me post-workout ;-), whatever the means, and can always find something more enjoyable to do than exercise — hence the motivation challenge.
@NancyL I would encourage you to keep searching. Honestly not having motivation is super common and normal. I have the same concern. It's our brains just wanting us to stay the same and in the land of comfort. Sometimes folding laundry is way more motivating than going for a run on a sunny day. I would encourage you to explore different forms of movement that you can enjoy. Something that makes you feel rejuvenated, relieves stress, is pleasurable and enhances the mind and body. Because the things you listed above haven't resulted in the release of endorphins doesn't mean that there is something that will. Another practice you may want to consider is to think about yourself a year from now having a regular exercise practice that you enjoy doing and you look forward to doing this activity and can't seem to live without it. How do you feel? Do you even need to be motivated if the exercise you are doing is so fun? Sometimes it is helpful to work backwards to find the answer. Hope this helps!
My only advice to the question of "how can I stay fit and motivated?" is to find more than one activity you like, in fact find as many as possible, so you never get bored. I am almost 68 and have been involved in the fitness world and endurance activities since I was 25. Spent 10 years as an ACE certified group fitness instructor; now I lead cycling outings for the Appalachian Mountain Club (yes, they do more than hiking). Part of motivation is finding a good mix of individual pursuits and groups that you feel comfortable with and motivate you. I've never been a runner, but in addition to cycling, I hike, walk, do yoga,, x country, ski, and snow shoe, as well as boot camp classes, which include strength training. Sure, I've had injuries, bike crashes, and illnesses, but I will never stop. I hate when people assume being older means you're not fit and live an unhealthy lifestyle.