At 63, I had retired from my first career in nursing and my second career, practicing law. I started my “encore career”, consulting with those who have aging loved ones about the legal and healthcare challenges they face. I had more time and more flexibility than ever, when my life was no longer ruled by the court calendar. I wanted to find a form of exercise that would promote healthy aging.
I was always a moderate sort of exerciser, mainly taking walks almost every day. Exercise had become very routine. I could maintain my weight, but it was seemingly impossible to lose weight. I wasn’t fat, but like most of us, I thought I would look better with a little less weight.
I like challenges, always have. I had decided that I needed a new physical challenge. My daughter suggested triathlon. I didn’t even know what that was. She explained that you swim, then bike and then run. All in the same event. Gulp. I knew how to do all of these things, and had loved swimming as a kid. However, I hadn’t been in a pool in years, wasn’t sure I could even run and biking was just sort of ok. But, I decided to do it. I had the time.
My Inner Child Is Ecstatic
I started very slowly. Then I got a coach and joined a team. I am the oldest woman on the all girl training team. I’m the slowest, too, but who cares? I get there. I could be the grandma of the youngest ones in the group. We train three times a week. We do other stuff on our own a couple of more days a week. That, my friends, is structure.
Fast forward to now. I am 65. I have completed 5 sprint distance (short) triathlons. I have lost 12 pounds, at the rate of a pound a month for that first year. It stayed off. Those endorphins are my new best friends. I’m healthy. I have another terrific purpose besides my work. It’s all about fitness and having fun. My inner child is ecstatic. My husband doesn’t do triathlons with me but he jogs with me, and we bike together when we can. That makes the exercise effort another bond between us.
So, my retiring friends, I recommend that you build a new structure into your life in retirement. Set a new goal. Let a part of it be more physical movement in your day every day. More being aware of your body and using it, no matter what condition you’re in right now. Anyone can improve and aim for getting better. Anyone can have more fun. Let it be you.
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