Author: Carmel A.
It was an article from a magazine in my doctor’s office, and it was titled “The Benefits of Strength Training for Women Over Fifty.” I knew the benefits of exercise. I walked thirty minutes two to three times per week and I was fully vested in my yoga practice. The article resonated with me. Strength training for women involved using your body weight, dumbbells or other weights or leveraging resistance bands. Adding resistance to my fitness routine could help me get stronger, leaner and healthier. Stronger and leaner sounded great. Of course I’d want a stronger and leaner body; however, now in my fifties, healthier was even more important. Osteoporosis, urinary incontinence and heart disease are just a few of the issues on the rise for women over the age of 50. The article noted that heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States, causing about 1 in 5 female deaths. Other statistics included high blood pressure, high cholesterol and stroke. Diabetes, dementia, certain cancers and injury due to falls. I didn’t want to be part of the statistics—I wanted to be the minority.
During my thirties and the earlier years of my forties, I didn’t care about appearing lean out of my clothes, as long as my clothes fit. With that, I’d faithfully step onto the scale each morning and the number dictated what I could eat for the day. Exercise for me then was meager or nonexistent. Until one day I threw out my back for the last time and decided to apply physical therapy to recover from the muscle strain. Shortly thereafter I would discover yoga.
I LOVED YOGA! The combined energy of all the yogins practicing together, while music played during the class merging with the practice. I left each class feeling motived and inspired. My body turned lean. Someone referred to me as willowy once, I was flattered. But I wasn’t strong.
Then one day, I met Patrick [Williams] during a yoga class, ironically. Patrick was well-built, and flexible for yoga. He inspired me. On his shirt read PIT and after class I approached him. We arranged for my visit to his gym and he’d evaluate my capability. As I look back I remember immediately feeling comfortable with Patrick. It is hard to believe it has been almost four years since I first walked into his gym. Patrick thinks beyond the immediate results, taking his time with me over the years. He’s helped me gain confidence and to see what I am capable of.
Knowing my history of back pain, it was Patrick’s priority to get my back strong. By improving my athletic abilities—using the term loosely—the stronger my back, the better stabilized I would become and work out more efficiently. I’d read that balance declines begin somewhere between 40 to 50 years of age and most adults don’t think about balance until we encounter a fall. The stronger the back, the better the workout. I’m doing barbell squats, deadlifts and bench presses now!
As I move into my later fifties, I’ve come to know my reason then for reaching the next mile marker was a quest in trying to lose those extra five pounds. That has since changed. My contentment can’t be measured by the reading on the scale, and the mile markers along the path I ignore now. Instead, my quest is for a healthier and stronger body. And simply, for a general sense of happiness.