[dropcap]T[/dropcap]here are many reasons why we tend to slow down and become more sedentary with age. It may be due to health problems, weight or pain issues, or other worries about mobility. Or perhaps you think that exercising simply isn’t for you. But as you grow older, an active lifestyle becomes more important than ever to your health. Getting moving can help boost your energy, maintain your independence, protect your heart, and manage symptoms of illness or pain as well as your weight. And regular exercise is also good for your mind, mood, and memory. Meet these three ordinary women who made themselves extraordinary by choosing fitness in the late age and set an example for others.
‘Fitness is to have efficient body’
Mitushi Ajmera, 41, certified wellness coach, fitness & sports nutritionist
I have always been thin, but not necessarily fit. I realised that I enjoy exercising when I was trying to shed my pregnancy weight at the age of 34. I not just did shed all the extra pregnancy kilos but went a step ahead, studied human anatomy and nutrition science to make myself fitter and stronger. It changed my life completely, from being a sickly clumsy person to a strong woman. From falling sick minimum 4 times a year to none for 4-6 years at a stretch, from getting frequent headaches to none, from having dependent on others to carry my sleeping toddlers to lifting them up when they are big and heavy.
Fitness Regime: Since I am at my desired weight and fat, I now exercise 5-6 hours each week and stay active through the day. I practice pilates, weight training, endurance runs, stair climbing and high-intensity interval training. I can exercise anywhere anytime, irrespective of the weather conditions, come rain or sunshine. There have been times the rain and strong sun have pulled me to exercise for the sheer joy of testing my health and immunity.
‘We are all stories waiting to be told’
Poonam Joshy, 52, fitness enthusiast
The clarion calls of the bugler and drums of the olive green have motivated me towards fitness all these years. I have trekked to breathtakingly pristine places, some of which are unexplored even by National Geographic. The treks include, from Joshimath to Auli along the goat tracks, Valley of Flowers, Gangotri to Gaumukh the snout of the River Bhagirathi, arduous trek through the Pir-Panjal ranges in the Uri district and the icy trails of Kargil to name a few.
Fitness Regime: I began running four years ago and have never stopped since. My story with ‘RUN BHOPAL RUN’ has fuelled this passion further, turning me from ‘A Novice to A Pro’. Today I am motivating people towards running and have also begun training for IRONMAN challenge.
‘Running is liberating’
Taru Mateti, 54, Ultramarathoner
I am not only an Ultramarathoner, but also Comrades runner, Unived Athlete, fitness enthusiast, ex-Sr IT Professional, Army wife and, most importantly, a mom. I started running about five years ago at the age of 49 and found it very liberating. With no prior exposure to running or any other fitness activity in school or college, I had picked up badminton after I got married and then diversified to other fitness activities too before running became my passion. I also conduct fitness-related sessions such as Fitness and the Working Woman, Fitness and the Working Professional, Getting Started with Running for Corporates and strength training.
Fitness Regime: My fitness regime includes running, cycling, strength training, yoga, pilates, and occasional badminton, Zumba and aerobics.
A study says…
A Swedish study found that physical activity was the number one contributor to longevity, adding extra years to your life even if you don’t start exercising until your senior years. But getting active is not just about adding years to your life, it’s about adding life to your years. You’ll not only look better when you exercise, you’ll feel sharper, more energetic, and experience a greater sense of well-being.
Physical health benefits
Helps you maintain or lose weight: As metabolism naturally slows with age, maintaining a healthy weight is a challenge. Exercise helps increase metabolism and builds muscle mass, helping to burn more calories.
Reduces the impact of illness and chronic disease: People who exercise tend to have improved immune and digestive functioning, better blood pressure and bone density, and a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, osteoporosis, and certain cancers.
Enhances mobility, flexibility, and balance: Exercise improves your strength, flexibility and posture, which in turn will help with balance, coordination, and reducing the risk of falls. Strength training also helps alleviate the symptoms of chronic conditions such as arthritis.
Mental health benefits
Improves sleep: Quality sleep is vital for your overall health. Regular activity can help you fall asleep more quickly, sleep more deeply, and wake feeling more energetic and refreshed.
Boosts mood and self-confidence: Exercise is a huge stress reliever and the endorphins produced can actually help reduce feelings of sadness, depression, or anxiety. Being active and feeling strong naturally helps you feel more self-confident.
(Story by: Sharbani Banerjee)