The Old Lady at the Gym

The Old Lady at the Gym

I am older and overweight. I have been overweight my entire life. Really. I weighed well over 9 pounds when I was born. I was average size until puberty hit. From that point on I have been overweight. I spent the better part of my adult life in the 160 to 170 range on the scale. And I spent it sedentary. I was a very good couch potato. And a smoking couch potato at that.

I finally decided to get off the couch when my son started driving and my 110 mile daily commute became a 56 mile daily commute. I was 42 when I joined the YMCA. I brought my gym clothes to work and changed before leaving the office (it didn’t take me long to realize that going home before going to the gym wasn’t going to work out, literally, for me). I started out walking and using the weight machines. I quit smoking not too long after I started because I smelled like an ashtray when I was finished working out. Also, it seemed so ridiculous to be going to the gym to get healthy when I smoked a cigarette before I got there and immediately after I left. I managed to do what is nearly impossible after quitting smoking. I lost weight. Almost 30 pounds. Down to where I should have been, in the 130’s. I worked out with the Wii in the morning and went to the Y at night. I started jogging and actually ran in two 5k races before injuring my knee on the stair mill. So, back to walking and the weight machines. And the weight went back up. But only a little.

When my son graduated from college and began working at a gym he urged me to go there and work out. That’s when he developed in me a love of powerlifting. I entered my first competition three months after beginning and one month after my 49th birthday. I came in first for my age group and weight class (we don’t have to tell anyone that I was the only lifter in my age group, haha). I have competed in two additional competitions and also came in first. And I feel GREAT. Better than I have felt for most of my life. I’m still overweight, but only slightly. I am working with a health coach and I am headed back down to where I should be. My doctor says I’m within acceptable limits. My health is very good. And I feel GREAT. I’m 51 years old. And I go to the gym every day. And I lift heavy weight. And I feel GREAT.

I hope that by being strong and staying active that I will keep things like weak bones and balance issues out of my future. Studies have shown that people who lift weights have better bone density and fall less. This link is for an article from the Mayo clinic that speaks to the benefits of strength training in aging adults:

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