Don’t Limit Yourself (Age Smaydge)

“I did try that gym for a few months and managed to barely keep up with the 20-30’s crowd, in much pain, but if they put in a slower class for us ‘mature’ gals, I might try again.”

A woman said this to me on a local Facebook page. She appears to be around the same age as me, based on her FB picture. She had posted a video on that local page, of a group of women (including me) warming up for a workout in the park across from her house. Her post was a variation of “Is there anything more annoying than waking up and having to watch people get fit on a Saturday morning, while I’m trying to drink my coffee and plan which cooking shows to watch.” It was clearly in jest. And, I mean, I love coffee and cooking shows.

A picture from the video shared by a stranger on Facebook, of a group of women, including Nicole, using bands to stretch their shoulders as they prepare for their main workout.

While other people joked about sitting closer to us and eating ice cream while we work out, I couldn’t help but comment that I was in that video and it was fun and she should join us sometime. Her response was the quote at the beginning of this post…..”if they put in a slower class for us ‘mature’ gals, I might try again.” Um, speak for yourself (I kept that to myself).

Now, I totally understand there may be reasons why some people want a slower class. And no one should be in pain when working out. There’s lots of legitimate reasons to take it easy. To go slow. Nothing wrong with that. Even if the reason isn’t based on an injury, or not having exercised in awhile, or just because you don’t want to. Just don’t blame it on an age.

Having gone to the gym in question for years, I know there are a number of women in the 20s and 30s range, but there are also a number of women, like me, in the 40s and 50s and older range.

My response was “hmm, I don’t know, I am in my late 40s and have been going for a few years. I find there are good options. If you ever want to just do a friendly few moves I can probably lead us through some things. No pressure. Just love movement. Happy Saturday!”

Don’t blame it on age though. Let’s not limit ourselves. Some days I have to adjust certain movements. Some days I have PMS, or my actual period, and I feel physically more tired, or stiff, or like my uterus may fall out of my body, and I modify things. But not because of my age.

Everyone has different abilities. But wherever someone is starting from, is a culmination of many things: athletic history, medical history, interest in and experience with, whatever activity they are choosing to participate in. Age can be a factor, but combined with the other factors as well, and relative to that person, not a limiting factor, on its own.

If I worried I was too old to participate in the park workout with my gym, here’s a short list of things I would have missed on Saturday:

  • a friendly chat with other women while waiting to workout;
  • stretching in a fun way, that I wouldn’t take the time to do myself;
  • working on my balance while I did a combination lunge and row on the fence;
  • challenging myself on weighted walking pulse lunges, that I would never do on my own;
  • giving myself an internal pat on the back for my rockin’ push-ups with plank taps;
  • being surprised that my beast hold was better than usual;
  • practicing sprints, which I am mediocre at (I am a slow, endurance runner), but which I should be doing anyway; and
  • enjoying the sun on my face while I stretched afterwards and the sweat poured off of me.

Whatever the proposed form of movement is, “Age, Shmayge”, I say. Figure out what you can safely do, something you enjoy doing, and want to do, something that benefits you, and do it. If you don’t like doing something, don’t blame it on your age.

Nicole P. is loving her Saturday morning park workouts.

7 thoughts on “Don’t Limit Yourself (Age Smaydge)

  1. Agreed! Though with the recognition that it’s a tricky issue–accepting age with grace and continuing to find our own personal level of vim and vigour.

    1. Thanks, and I agree everyone has their own personal level of vim and vigour. I just don’t like the lumping others in to one’s own determination based on their age 🙂

  2. I really like this, Nicole! I wonder if age is really playing a stand-in for those other restrictions you mention–injury history, lower fitness level, etc,–but it feels more culturally acceptable for some folks to acknowledge? When my health was still disabling, but it didn’t show as obviously on the outside (I was no longer gaunt from a month+ in the hospital, etc), there were folks who tried to comfort me as I struggled to keep up on walks and such, “oh, these things happen as you age!” Like the inevitability of aging might be easier to accept than the randomness of disabling disease. Always felt weird to me, especially since I was in my mid-20’s!

    1. That is an odd thing to say to someone in their mid-20s! Not related to disease, but I feel that way when, if someone who is a runner, says they are injured, others will say that it is inevitable and that person is going to have to give up on running at some point, because of age. That is not something that should be assumed. Injuries happen for all kinds of reasons. Age is a factor, but with proper maintenance, care, and luck, in some cases, age will not be the reason someone can’t do a particular sport, including running.

      1. I agree–people have assumptions about an activity like running, and then when you fulfill their expectations, they can say “proof, proof!” But they seem to miss all the things we are doing that goes against their expectations, somehow that evidence isn’t as valid. There’s a lady in my bunco group (which hasn’t met in 5 months 🙁 ) who is convinced I’m going to break my back lifting weights. Someday, I’ll get an injury, and I’m sure she’ll feel vindicated. 😉

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